Sheriff promotes officer who retired, boosting his cash out of unused leave
Mike Dean left behind a 28-year career when he walked out of the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office for the last time Jan. 4. He also walked away with a fistful of cash following his retirement, as well as an extra taxpayer bonus of $1,100 courtesy of Sheriff Deryl Loar.
Surprisingly, Dean was promoted to captain only 16 days before he was scheduled to retire – and more than a month after he had handed in his notice – making him one of two captains in sheriff’s office that oversee the patrol division.
While his day-to-day responsibilities didn’t change during the final two weeks, his hourly salary did – and the change enabled him to cash out his unused vacation pay and sick pay at a higher rate, taking home an extra $1,100 in taxpayers’ money.
While the extra amount Dean pocketed might seem relatively small, Mark Mucher, a member of the Indian River County Taxpayers Association, was among those concerned about the principle involved.
“If this is all true, then that is reprehensible,” said Mucher. “What’s the explanation for promoting him?”
Vero Beach 32963 asked that very question among others in an e-mail to Sheriff Deryl Loar last week. As of press time Monday evening, Loar had not responded.
According to documents obtained through public records law, Dean’s retirement was no secret to the sheriff.
On Oct. 19, Dean told the sheriff as well as Capt. Don Smith and Undersheriff Bud Spencer of his Jan. 4 retirement date in a two-sentence letter.
According to Dean’s annual evaluation – given on Dec. 13 – Smith noted Dean’s attributes as the deputy division commander of the patrol division, a job he had held for three years, and said his leadership would be missed. Seven days later, Loar promoted Dean.
“It gives me great pleasure to promote you to rank of captain. Your promotion from deputy division commander to captain will be effective Dec. 20, 2012. Your salary will be adjusted accordingly. Please accept my sincere congratulations and my best wishes as you begin your next assignment,” wrote Loar in the promotion letter.
Had Dean stayed on another year, the promotion would have meant an annual salary of $90,919, up from the $86,354 a year he was making as a division commander.
Had Loar not promoted him for those 16 days, Dean would have cashed out $9,388.80 in unused vacation and sick time. With the bump, the total payout was $10,492.
That had Mucher seething. “If he was promoted for six days, 16 days or 60 days, purely to bump up his salary for a job that wouldn’t otherwise be needed, well, that’s not right.”
The whole notion of carrying over sick and unused vacation time is hot button issue in itself as governments struggle to deal with smaller budgets and pension liabilities.
Considering that Dean, who was in the state’s DROP program that allowed him to walk away from the department with hundreds of thousands in cash up front and then be awarded a pension slightly less than his annual salary, the promotion does seem excessive, Mucher said.
“This is exactly why the Taxpayers Association is looking so hard at pension and sick and vacation time payouts,” said Mucher. “There needs to be reform.”