Convicted Ex-Mayor Wins $70,947 For Unused Vacation, Sick Time
Arbitration Award Does Not Include Compensation For Time Perez Was On Trial
December 02, 2011
An arbitrator has awarded former Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez $70,947 for unused vacation and sick time during his 8 1/2-year tenure, but he will receive nothing for the time he was on trial for corruption in 2010.
The arbitrator, Joseph A. O'Brien, rejected about $24,000 of Perez's claim. More than $15,000 of that amount represented the 228 hours Perez spent at the trial that ended with his conviction on five of the six charges against him. Perez had claimed that he was still doing work as mayor while on trial at Superior Court in Hartford.
But O'Brien said in a six-page decision, dated Monday, that "this is somewhat analogous to making work-related phone calls or emails while on vacation; the primary focus is still vacation rather than work, and vacation time would still be used."
"For this reason, I believe that the total of 228 hours should be deducted from accumulated vacation time while the Mayor was on trial," wrote O'Brien, who was chosen by agreement between lawyers for the city and Perez.
R. Bartley Halloran, Perez's lawyer in the arbitration case, said the next step is for the city to write the ex-mayor a check for the $70,947. No city council approval or other procedure is needed, he said, because it has the effect of a court judgment.
Perez, who resigned as mayor a week after his June 2010 conviction, remains free on bond while his appeal is pending; he faces a three-year prison sentence, plus three years of probation — all ordered in September 2010 by Judge Julia Dewey.
Perez submitted pay stub documentation showing 1,216 hours of accumulated vacation, and 768 hours of unused sick time, with a pay rate of just over $66.88 an hour.
In addition to the 228 hours for Perez's trial, O'Brien deducted 120 hours from the accumulated vacation based on notations on the ex-mayor's calendar, such as "Mayor out of the office" and "Mayor-vacation."
"The total time which I find should be deducted from the Mayor's accumulated vacation time … is 348 hours, leaving a balance of 868.68 hours for which the Claimant is entitled to … $58,104.70" for unused vacation time, O'Brien wrote.
But he left the 768 hours of sick time intact, and said they were worth $12,842.59.
The arbitration award by O'Brien, who is West Hartford's corporation counsel, was released Thursday night by Halloran, who called it "a fair decision," adding that "nobody got exactly what they wanted."
Late Thursday night, Mayor Pedro Segarra issued a statement saying, "Several months ago Eddie Perez, through his attorney, demanded payment for sick and vacation time he claimed to have accumulated while Mayor. I denied the request and asked the City's Corporation Counsel to take appropriate action. Thereafter arbitration was agreed to by both parties." O'Brien held a hearing on Sept. 27.
Although a figure of more than $132,000 had been mentioned as the city's potential obligation to Perez, this week's award for unused vacation and sick time was significantly less than that, Segarra said.
"I am satisfied that this case has been resolved and consider the matter closed," Segarra said. "There will be no further statement regarding this issue."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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