At Monday’s Board of Supervisors’ meeting, residents learned of a “confidential” settlement and the resignation of Police Chief Dennis Anderson. Announced by Board of Supervisors Chairman Joseph Catania, township insurance provided a settlement of $175,000 to settle Anderson’s claims against the township. So, I guess it isn’t really a confidential settlement, or rather, only the reason why the insurance company determined they would pay out a significant amount of money is a secret.
Curiously, Chairman Catania stated that as a result of this settlement, which included Anderson’s resignation, the township had also settled the township’s claims against the now former chief. This certainly begs the question, what were the claims that were made by each of these parties? Although the settlement may be secret, the claims should be a matter for public record. In addition, information about the insurance coverage which paid the settlement as well as township legal bills associated with the settlement are public record.
So, one mystery has been solved and new mysteries have appeared. I think residents can come to their own conclusions about this settlement. First, it certainly has been my understanding that insurance companies are not in the business of significant and timely settlements unless they believe that their exposure for additional money is great.
I think the settlement with Chief Anderson clearly suggests that the insurance company feared a greater amount would be due to Anderson if his claims went forward. Second, it appeared to me that the supervisors wanted residents to think that this settlement did not cost the taxpayers. I found that hard to believe, so I sent an email to the township manager after the meeting to ask about the township’s insurance coverage. Here is my email question to Manager Mike Trio and the response that immediately followed from Catania:
Policy calls for a $5000.00 deductible that has not been charged or billed as yet. Insurance Company paid their own attorney, and Twp paid its attorneys. The exact amounts paid are not totaled as yet
Sent from my iPhone
On Nov 27, 2012, at 11:22 AM, "Patti Wilson" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I have a couple of additional questions as a result of the information provided last night about the township's insurance coverage. I believe that Rich said that the township's general liability coverage issued by Hartford insurance is paying the settlement--did I hear this correctly--if not, what coverage/company is paying the settlement? Does the policy have a deductible that had to be met? If there was a deductible cost, what was the deductible paid? What are the policy limits? Finally, did the insurance company pay all legal costs associated with this settlement and the negotiation of the settlement? If not, what costs did the township incur?
Thank you--Patti Wilson
I’m still waiting for the insurance policy information, but residents now know that the taxpayers will be paying the $5,000 deductible as well as attorney’s fees. The notion that a deductible would be billed to the township is ludicrous. Taxpayers will have to pay the deductible.
Additionally, at last night’s budget workshop, it was announced that Chief Anderson had filed for unemployment as of October 1. I guess the supervisors had already decided in October to settle with Chief Anderson? It seemed that there was some confusion as to whether Chief Anderson would continue to collect or would have to return that which he already collected. Should Anderson be entitled to unemployment compensation, township residents will also pay this cost because the township is self insured.
Have township officials learned from this experience? Given this settlement as well as the announcement last night that a trial with former township manager Jim Sheldrake is scheduled for next year, I sure hope they have learned. Otherwise, taxpayers will pay the price.