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Editorial: Twice charged officer leaves in style

Posted 5/9/20

The way it all sorted out in the matter of Town of Tiverton vs. police Sergeant William Munroe, it’s difficult to tell who is being punished — town taxpayers or the man accused of …

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Editorial: Twice charged officer leaves in style

Posted

The way it all sorted out in the matter of Town of Tiverton vs. police Sergeant William Munroe, it’s difficult to tell who is being punished — town taxpayers or the man accused of stealing from them.

Published reports indicate that the agreement signed by Mr. Munroe, the police union and the town sends the 57-year-old sergeant on his way set up well for whatever comes next.

Among other things …

• The sergeant gets to keep his full pension based on 25 years of “honorable service” — he sacrifices two years of service time (the time since that day in 2018 when he allegedly got caught helping himself to Tiverton property in one of two cases against him). That pension will pay him 60 percent of the salary he earned at his highest rate of working pay.

• He keeps his top-of-the-line town-paid health coverage for another eight years — until he reaches age 65.

• He receives a payout of $17,235 for unused sick time built up over the years.

• He gets another $10,168 for some of the time he was suspended without pay.

• And Tiverton pays him $4,136 for unused vacation time.

He gets all of this despite actions that would seem to contradict that ‘serve and protect’ oath he took.

State Police arrested the sergeant in 2019 on 15 counts of misdemeanor larceny after he was allegedly caught multiple times on videotape making off with gasoline from the town pumps. Investigators said he was seen filling a large container which he then poured into the tank of his personal vehicle back at the station. He pleaded no contest to two counts of criminal larceny.

And State Police also arrested the sergeant on 30 felony counts of forgery and counterfeiting. Detectives said that, from 2013 to 2019, he submitted disbursement forms for his retirement account bearing the town treasurer’s signature. The treasurer never signed them, investigators said. He pleaded no contest to three misdemeanor counts of giving a false document.

Left to pay for this sweet retirement package, as usual, are the taxpayers, the great majority of whom can expect none of the above when they leave work, no matter how well behaved they’ve been.

Instead of pensions, most rely on 401ks and the like, that lately hold a fraction of what they were worth two months ago.

For most, sick days are for being sick, vacation days for vacations — not funds to cash in on the way out the door. Use them or lose them.

The town believed settling was simpler and probably cheaper than a drawn-out fight that Tiverton might well have lost. It was probably right.

None of which makes this any easier for taxpayers to swallow.

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Meet our staff
Scott Pickering

Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Newspapers team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to EastBayRI.com, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at spickering@eastbaynewspapers.com.