Mullica Township Police Chief John Thompson

Outgoing Mullica Township police Chief John Thompson

MULLICA TOWNSHIP — The future of police Chief John Thompson, who is at the center of a controversial retirement package and ongoing internal affairs investigation, may be clear after a special township meeting Saturday.

Township Committee will meet 10 a.m. to accept Thompson’s retirement, according to a notice on the township website.

In recent weeks the township has been negotiating with Thompson, with the committee proposing and then pulling a vote on a settlement with him over an internal investigation, then giving him a pay raise and six months of paid administrative leave with the understanding he would retire Jan. 1.

Capt. Brian Zeck, the son-in-law of Mayor Chris Silva, had taken over as acting chief July 1.

But then last month Thompson withdrew his retirement paperwork with the state and rescinded his request for paid administrative leave.

Thompson, 44, has been with the township 24 years. He grew up in Mullica and still lives there, and angered many in the community last year when he tried to fire Officer P.J. Sarraf. The officer, who also lives in the township, has sleep apnea and could not work overnight shifts.

In June, Township Committee announced it was increasing the chief’s salary retroactively to $128,500 from $113,500. Two weeks later, the committee approved his request to be put on paid leave through the end of the year, when he would retire.

Silva has recused himself from votes regarding Thompson, but he was in charge of the Public Safety Department during the time negotiations over Thompson’s future heated up. He recently gave up oversight of Public Safety, which is now handled by Committeeman Larry Riffle.

Contact: 609-272-7219 mpost@pressofac.com Twitter @MichelleBPost

Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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