Only 51 days after retiring, Mark Hetrick was rehired as police chief tonight by the Perrysburg Township Board of Trustees.
Mr. Hetrick, 49, who retired Dec. 31, was given a one-year renewable compensation agreement at a salary of $56,000 with two weeks of vacation. When he retired as police chief he was paid $81,000, with six weeks of vacation.
"It is a huge windfall for us because it resets his vacation and we get to compensate him at a starting patrolman's wage instead of an experienced police chief," Perryburg Township Trustee Robert Mack said. "We are saving a lot of money."
Mr. Hetrick has worked for the township police department for 26 years, only the past two as police chief.
The board approved the rehiring of retired salaried employees just minutes before the rehiring of Mr. Hetrick to allow such an action. The new policy allowing the rehiring of retirees is only for salaried, non-union employees.
The rehiring will take effect March 4.
"He was heartbroken when he had to retire but it was the only choice he could make," Mr. Mack said. "I'm honored to rehire him."
Mr. Hetrick did not attend the meeting.
He said later tonight by telephone that if he did not retire he stood to lose quite a bit of money because of significant changes the state legislature made to the pension law, which took effect Jan. 7, including raising the age and service limits for eligibility, and the salary calculation.
Specifically, he said the old pension law had an automatic, annual 3 percent increase; under the new law that increase was determined by cost of living, and could amount to no increase.
"I'm very excited to come back; I was hoping for it. I feel like I have a lot more to accomplish," he said.
"Some people retire at a young age and want to continue to work and take advantage of their retirement benefits while also getting rehired," Township Administrator Walter Celley said. "For a police chief to retire after 26 years of service ... he is a very experienced and valuable employee."