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Village of Albion and police union agree to settle officer pay 'error'

It was supposed to save the village money. Instead it ended up costing them.

ALBION, N.Y. — It was pegged as a $236,000 overpayment to the officers of the Albion Police Department that according to a report put together back in June 2022 had accrued over five years.

Now months, after the apparent issue was raised by then-newly elected Mayor Angel Javier, the village and the Albion Police Benevolent Association (PBA), have reached a settlement.

It's one in which the village agreed "it was in error" in calculating what had been called an overpayment.

"The old adage held true. He made an assumption ... and he ended up making the wrong assumption," said Paul Weiss, the attorney for the Village of Albion PBA.

Mayor Javier pushed back on the union's assessment that his attempt to save the village money backfired and was "anti-police" when he spoke with 2 On Your Side.

"The board made a decision to initiate the Bonadio report, the board made a decision to see what is the total impact of this overpayment... I don't think it blew up I think it was eventually settled," Mayor Javier said.

He added that the village had an obligation to taxpayers to see if there was an overpayment and then go through the potential process of recouping that money.

The settlement was signed in November however, months later than Javier said it could have been. He said there were issues including "a lack of understanding" and "follow-up" with the police union.

Both Weiss and Javier said several other problems were uncovered during the litigation process including that the village had not been adding in other contractual benefits for police like it was supposed to. However, the collective bargaining agreement was negotiated prior to Javier assuming office.

The lengthy timeline ultimately resulted in the filing of an improper practice charge by the union, which added to the cost.

"If they would have taken care of this within four months, we would not have had to file an improper practice charge which was another layer of litigation," Weiss said.

According to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Law Request the cost of legal fees for the village ended up just shy of $34,000. A one-time payout to each officer agreed to in the settlement cost another $15,000. The "overpayment report" issued in June was another $16,000.

Mayor Javier said by the time November arrived, the main goal in settling was to avoid what could have been hundreds of thousands of dollars in prolonged litigation.

"I think we've all learned from this that we need to do our diligence when it comes to a department that's over half our budget we need to make sure our numbers are correct moving forward," Javier said.

"From the PBA's perspective the new mayor made a mistake," Weiss added.

Last month, three members of the Village of Albion Board of Trustees voted "no confidence" in the Mayor. They're now looking at potential options to remove him.

Javier told 2 On Your Side he's not worried about the vote but rather focused on moving forward and repairing any bad blood that may have been shed. 

"I'm going to do the best of my ability," the mayor said.

"It's only been seven months [in officer] and I'm going to support the taxpayers and stick up for them."

When asked how the village's small and sensitive budget could be impacted by the settlement he said a "couple of lines" will be short.

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