The Apache Junction City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved Police Chief Robert Warner’s resignation, effective Dec. 26.
Under the agreement, Warner can't demand a termination hearing or file a civil lawsuit over losing his job, said City Attorney Joel Stern. Had there been a battle, the city could have ended up in court as long as two years, racking up between $80,000 and $150,000 in legal fees.
"This is a good deal," Stern told the council.
Warner will receive slightly more than $20,000 for two months' severance pay plus $12,300 in vacation and sick pay, Stern said. The city also agreed to pay for Warner's life insurance and health and dental benefits through Dec. 26.
Warner has been on paid administrative leave since Dec. 8.
A woman answering Warner's home phone Tuesday night said he would not comment.
Apache Junction leaders met two weeks ago to discuss Warner’s employment after a police department audit by a Virginia-based firm uncovered evidence of widespread mismanagement, including a lack of disciplinary action for police misconduct, the possible manipulation of crime statistics and allegations of sexual harassment.
City Manager George Hoffman said he has asked the Phoenix Police Department for interim chief candidates. Apache Junction officials will make the final selection.
The interim chief will play a pivotal role in implementing the recommendations made by the Virginia firm to improve the police department, Hoffman said.
An exhaustive national search for a new chief will take six to eight months, Hoffman said.
All City Council members spoke of the need for new leadership at the police department and expressed a desire to "rebuild" the department.
"The tension, the atmosphere has not been good over there and I'm hoping this will change things so we can make it the best police department in the state," said Councilman John Insalaco.