Monterey Park Police Officers’ Association backs former chief’s big time-off cash payout

(via reporter Thomas Himes)

The Monterey Park Police Officers’ Association on Wednesday came out in support of a former police chief who received $576,000 in pay and benefits during his last nine months of work for the city.

In a report published last week, it was revealed that former police chief Jones Moy collected more than half-a-million in pay and benefits in 2009. A significant portion of that money, $372,000 stems from unused time-off Moy cashed out before leaving. It was also revealed earlier this week that Moy and eight other top city officials are eligible to receive three months off a year they can cash out at 100% of their highest pay.

The President of the Monterey Park Police Officers’ Association, Ruben Semerena called the report a “politically motivated act intended to turn the citizens against those who strive to make the community a safe and better place for everyone…”

Semerena came to that conclusion by alleging Moy’s payout was publicly posted earlier this year on the city’s website. City officials said Moy’s compensation was not posted online. Semerena has not responded to requests for further explanation of claims made in his letter.

Dear Editor,

September 29, 2010

Dear Editor,

I am writing in my capacity as the President of the Monterey Park Police Officers Association in response to last week’s article and op-ed piece about retired MPPD Police Chief Jones Moy.

As I read the article I was somewhat concerned about the article’s subtext, which, at least as I perceived it is Chief Moy acted unethically when he was paid for his unused leave time. First, I have known Chief Moy for a number of years, and throughout our professional relationship I can attest to both his dedication to the Citizens of Monterey Park and his commitment to upholding the highest ethical standards of conduct expected of a law enforcement officer.

When I read the op-ed piece in which the writer says Chief Moy did nothing “below board” I was somewhat relieved, but the piece contains the accusation Chief Moy and other Monterey Park Police Officers serve for no other reason except to enrich themselves at the expense of the taxpayers. Let me assure you, nothing could be further from the truth.

When comparing the pay and benefits the Police Officers of Monterey Park earn to surrounding agencies (do not even bother comparing them to the benefits earned by Police Officers in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica or Torrance) you will note the City’s benefits are not as generous. As an example, the retirement for MPPD Officers has a lower benefit than all but one other municipality in Los Angeles County that participates in CalPERS.

Furthermore, in both the article and op-ed piece there is a reference to the City’s budget deficit and the layoffs in which the City recently engaged to balance the budget. What was omitted are the following facts: the City Council has frozen or eliminated ten sworn police officer positions, the sworn officers comprising the membership of the Police Officers Association voluntarily took a five percent pay cut to help balance the budget, and the membership agreed to begin the process for Association members to contribute to their retirement.

Finally, another thing not explained in your article is why Chief Moy’s final compensation is suddenly an issue since he received his final pay check with all of the payouts last year, and the information about Chief Moy’s salary and payouts was posted publicly on the City’s website early this year. Therefore, I am left to conclude the reason for excoriating and attempting to humiliate someone who dedicated his entire adult life to the citizens of Monterey Park is a politically motivated act intended to turn the citizens against those who strive to make the community a safe and better place for everyone while couching their true motives behind the veil of fiscal responsibility.

I understand everyone in the United States is suffering during these difficult economic times, but I urge you and your readers to remember it is the Police Officers I represent who are on the streets every day and night working to ensure your safety and make the community a better place for everyone.


Ruben Semerena, President

Monterey Park Police Officers Association

Some thoughts on the breaking news out of Montebello, Monterey Park

The news out of Montebello and Monterey Park today is pretty astounding.

First in Monterey Park we learned that former Police Chief Jones Moy cashed in $372,559 in unused sick, vacation and holiday pay before he retired last year.

And for the cherry on the cake, he filed for workers compensation benefits in the months before he left.

Cashing in benefits like this by department managers is going to be an issue in the future, I predict. So many cities are appealing to candidates with large benefit packages, such as a months worth of vacation that can be saved year to year. Plus, many of these same managers already get a certain amount of administrative leave hours (often more than two weeks a year like Glendora’s new chief will get) so they can take a two week vacation and not have touched their paid vacation time.

Work for a city for a city for 12+ years while saving a month’s worth of vacation/sick time each year and suddenly you retire with your CALPERS benefits with the retirement bonus of a year’s salary or more.

Then in Montebello the city depleted its redevelopment agencies budget to refill the general fund budget with a $19.3 million loan. The loan dissenting councilwoman there said the action was probably “illegal.”

Redevelopment money is intended for just that: Redevelopment. The money for such agencies usually comes from county property tax dollars that goes to cities in an effort to fix up blighted neighborhoods. The money is not intended to pay for city salaries, police, services and other general fund expenditures. In fact, as Glendora has seen, if you want a piece of the redevelopment pie, you have to assuredly prove what you are fixing up is blighted. If not, then the gravy train stops short.

It is hard to imagine seeing this hold up.

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