ELMWOOD PARK - Police Chief Donald Ingrasselino, who has received nearly $30,000 for overtime work since 2010, was "appropriately paid," his lawyer said Friday.
The mayor and Borough Council have been investigating whether the chief was entitled to overtime pay under his contract. Between Jan. 1, 2010, and Oct. 6 of this year, Ingrasselino was paid $29,436 for his role in drunken-driving enforcement operations in addition to his annual salary, which was $205,000 in 2010.
"Police Chief Ingrasselino worked; he was appropriately paid," said Patrick J. Jennings, a Hackensack-based lawyer.
"As a result of Ingrasselino's leadership and hard labor," Jennings continued, "the Police Department was recognized as one of the finest departments for making DWI arrests."
Borough Attorney Brian Giblin gave a report to the council Thursday night in a closed session about the matter. He also advised council members not to comment publicly about the matter because it is a personnel issue under review, said Mayor Richard Mola.
The mayor and two council members have said they did not believe that department heads, including the chief, could be paid for overtime work.
The chief's previous contract, which covered 2004 to 2006, stated that the chief was entitled to overtime pay at a rate of 1 1/2 times regular pay for work beyond 40 hours.
But there's no such provision in the chief's current contract, which was effective July 31, 2007, and ends at the end of this year.
"Somehow, when the contract was renewed, that language was taken out," said Council President Louis Vuoncino.
Records show that Ingrasselino's overtime pay was for DWI enforcement that was reimbursed with federal, county and state funding. Ingrasselino told the council that he supervised DWI posts, making sure roadblocks were in the proper place and that procedures were followed.
The 37-member Elmwood Park Police Department was recently ranked by the New Jersey Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund as the fourth-best police department in the state for making DWI arrests and has received numerous grants for DWI operations.
Jennings said the police chief should be celebrated for those accomplishments.
"The public should be comforted by the fact that under Chief Ingrasselino's watch and direction, there are far less drunk drivers on the road," he said.
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