September 18. 2013 9:44PM

Weare police lieutenant nets $28k payout on retiring

Union Leader Correspondent

WEARE — Weare police Lt. James Carney, who was on paid administrative leave before he retired July 1, received a lump sum of more than $28,000 when he left the job and is collecting a monthly retirement check as well.

In March, Carney, who came under scrutiny many times over his law enforcement career in Weare, was placed on paid administrative leave in March. Though the town refused to say why Carney was suspended, Tony Soltani, his attorney, said that a letter to Carney from the town laid out the accusations.

In the letter, selectmen alleged that Carney was accused of having an intimate relationship with an employee, transporting alcohol in a police vehicle, failing to enforce the department's sexual harassment policy, coercing employees, getting into physical altercations with police and civilians, and sharing confidential personnel records.

Soltani argued that Carney was a whistle blower whose complaints against members of the department went unheeded by selectmen. But before an investigation into the accusations against Carney could be completed, the second-in-command announced his retirement, effectively ending a 20-year career in law enforcement.

According to Marty Karlon of the New Hampshire Retirement System, Carney collected more than $28,000 upon his departure from Weare police, including $4,816 in unused vacation days, $23,513 in unused sick days and $345 for a bonus day for a total of $28,674. Carney had accrued 15 sick days and 73 vacation days before retiring.

Carney is also receiving $6,527 a month in retirement benefits, for a total of $78,324 per year.

Former Police Chief Gregory Begin, who also retired earlier this year, received no lump-sum payout when he left the department, said Karlon. However, his monthly retirement income is $5,100 or $61,200 per year.

Begin served 31 years in law enforcement and was the first police chief to be elected instead of appointed in Weare. He was in his third elected term when he opted to retire.

In March, voters decided to return the role of police chief to an appointed position. A search is on to find a new chief.

In recent years, the Weare Police Department has been plagued with lawsuits and staff turnover. Most recently, two police officers shot and killed a Manchester man during an Aug. 14 drug sting. The state police and the Attorney General's Office are still investigating to determine whether the use of deadly force was justified.

The Attorney General's Office said the names of the two Weare police officers who fired their weapons and struck Alex Cora DeJesus, 35, will not be released until a preliminary finding has been made. The two officers have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of the investigation.

The department has been without a chief since Begin. Arthur Walker, a retired Keene police chief, has been serving as the town's interim police administrator since until the position is filled.

Phone calls to Walker about the shooting have not been returned.