ATLANTIC CITY - Local elected officials will consider bringing back former Deputy Police Chief William Glass as public safety director but must first undo a ban on his employment - part of a $500,000 lawsuit settlement between the municipality and its first pick for top law enforcement official.
Documents released Friday show Atlantic City Council will vote at Tuesday's meeting on whether to waive a provision prohibiting Glass from returning to work for the city as part of the lawsuit settlement reached in 2009. Council members also will vote on a resolution nominating Glass for the public safety director job, documents show.
"I advised them that if they wanted me to go back to work for the city, I'd be glad to do that. But I haven't been speaking to council or politicking for the position," Glass said Friday from his house in Key West, Fla. "I haven't been given a (start) date."
A 29-year Police Department veteran, Glass had sued the city after he was "iced" out of his job by former police Chief Arthur Snellbaker. Ultimately, a jury awarded Glass $796,000, plus attorney's fees. But negotiations out of court reduced the city's liability to $500,000 and banned Glass from working for the municipality in the future.
Attorney Robert L. Tarver, city solicitor when the city reached the settlement with Glass, declined to comment.
A majority of nine council members must pass the waiver and public safety director nomination Tuesday before the city can hire Glass, who now splits time between Key West and Atlantic City. The state Department of Community Affairs' Local Finance Board also needs to sign off on the hire and salary, even though both apply to a position filled just months ago during the same budget year, DCA spokesman Lisa Ryan said Friday.
Christine Petersen resigned in July from the post, which paid $90,000.
Glass' salary isn't addressed on the resolutions slated for council consideration Tuesday, but city administration hasn't sought to increase the position's pay, Councilman Tim Mancuso said Friday.
The documents also do not mention the possibility of Glass repaying any portion of his settlement.
"I think what's often left out of the mix is that I won a jury trial - it's not like the city just made a settlement agreement with me," Glass said before deferring further comment on the matter to his attorney.
It might not be an issue, though, said Councilman Steve Moore, who heads of the panel's Revenue and Finance Committee.
"Repayment wouldn't have to be part of his re-employment, but it's something that we should absolutely consider," Moore said Friday. "I haven't looked at William Glass's qualifications for public safety director (yet), ... but from his past performance in the Police Department - he was excellent."
Glass was on the short list of possible candidates when Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford moved to fill the years-vacant public safety director's position in 2009. He was removed from consideration, however, after settling his lawsuit.
Langford ultimately chose Petersen, a Jersey City police lieutenant who had just retired. It later turned out that she didn't wait the requisite six months before starting in Atlantic City. The issue, brought to light by the Atlantic City PBA, drove her departure last summer.
During Petersen's tenure, at least two ceremonies were planned for Deputy Chief Ernest Jubilee's promotion to police chief, only to be called off. The most recent cancellation happened just hours before Jubilee was set to be sworn in.
Langford, who did not return calls or emails Friday, hasn't said when he would fill the chief's position. But he's made it known he thinks having both a chief and public safety director would be best for the resort.
Police Capt. Frank Brennan, president of the Superior Officers Association, said the group hasn't changed its stance.
"The Police Department needs a chief of police. Hopefully, we get to that point," Brennan said.
PBA President Dave Davidson Jr. said the union maintains its view that the public safety director position adds an unnecessary level of bureaucracy. But he had only good things to say about Glass, his former supervisor.
"We believe he has enough respect for public safety and has enough respect for our members that it's probably a relationship that will work," Davidson said. "I've always viewed (Glass) as a cop's cop. He knows the streets of Atlantic City. He knows the problems we've had in the past."
Fire Chief Dennis Brooks has known Glass for years, dating to their time together on the Atlantic City Beach Patrol.
"Welcome aboard," Brooks said when told of the plan. "I've got to answer to somebody. If I've got to have a boss, I've got to have a boss. ... I expect to have a truthful and honest relationship. I know he's got the best interest of the city in mind and so do I, so we should get along fine."
Glass's familiarity and wide support in the city are a major part of his appeal as a candidate for the job, Mancuso said.
"Obviously, the legal stuff needs to be worked out," Mancuso said. "I'll probably ask that question during (the meeting) to get it on the record that, yes, we can vote (to hire) him."
Councilman Marty Small, however, expects to break from his tradition of supporting Langford's appointments in this case due to the existing contract with Glass.
"A deal's a deal," Small said. "I don't understand why this is even under consideration."
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