The total taxpayer tab of putting the Boxboro police chief on paid administrative leave for more than year has been tallied, according to financial records provided by town leaders.
As we reported last month, Warren Ryder stepped down from his post in exchange for a $135,000 settlement.
Along with that settlement, the price tag of the controversy included legal fees ($82,254.64), the salary of an interim police chief in Ryder's absence ($115,441.85), and the cost of a private investigation ($14,708.76).
That combination tallied up to more than $347,000 of taxpayer money, according to town records. However, it turns out one of the largest costs — Ryder's salary while he was on paid administrative leave — will be reimbursed to town coffers.
Get New England news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NECN newsletters.
That's because prior to being placed on administrative leave in January 2022, Ryder was on injured-on-duty status from a call the chief responded to May 2021.
In that incident, the police chief injured his knee while kicking in a door at an apartment building to assist an elderly man who'd called for help, according to documents the NBC10 Boston Investigators obtained.
As a result, an insurance company is picking up the tab for the roughly $328,000 of income Ryder was paid to stay at home while under investigation.
The controversy for the former police chief began when payroll discrepancies within his department came to light two years ago.
It turned out that several officers were getting more money for higher education degrees, even though they didn't have the required diplomas.
During an interview last month when he spoke publicly for the first time, we asked Ryder if he intentionally allowed some of his police officers to get educational incentives they had not earned.
"Absolutely not," he responded. "There's no way you could rightfully risk your whole career to commit a crime. It's ludicrous."
During a lengthy presentation at a Select Board meeting in October 2021, Ryder explained how the mistake happened, how it would be corrected, and how the four officers paid back the roughly $12,000 to town coffers.
However, not satisfied with the explanation, the Select Board took the surprising vote of asking the FBI's Public Corruption Unit to come to town and investigate.
In January 2022, town leaders sent the police chief home on paid administrative leave, starting the clock on a lengthy wait for Ryder and residents.
The controversy divided the town, with residents displaying opposing lawn signs to share their views.
While the police chief continued to collect his $161,000 salary, taxpayers also shelled out another six-figure paycheck for someone else to fill the important public safety role in his place.
At the beginning of the year, Ryder's attorney received word the U.S. Attorney's Office would not be pursuing an indictment against his client.
Upon learning the news, Ryder posted on social media, writing on LinkedIn that "exoneration has been delivered."
But the ordeal was not over. That's because town leaders had also hired a private investigator to look into a handful of administrative allegations against Ryder, including his role in the payroll discrepancies.
The town posted a copy of the report, along with more than a dozen exhibits, to its website. According to the documents, the private investigator did not find evidence to sustain a majority of the allegations.
As we previously reported in March, the Select Board planned to hold a termination hearing behind closed doors, but Ryder and town leaders eventually agreed to the settlement.
We asked why the town did not inform residents they were not paying two police chief salaries at the same time, considering it was a large source of taxpayer frustration.
On Thursday, Assistant Town Manager Rajon Hudson said there are personal and medical reasons for that decision.
"In general, the Town does not make announcements when an employee is out of work for medical reasons and the Town did not want to treat the Chief any differently," Hudson wrote. "This was out of concern for both the Chief's medical privacy interests as well as potential legal liability for the Town."
So, the final chapter of the issue comes with a savings to taxpayers. The true impact to the community, however, might be tougher to quantify.
"They took the nuclear option on this," Ryder told us last month. "They went as far down the road as they could possibly go and hit the button. And the problem with that is when you go that far, you can't roll it back."
Ryan Kath can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on Facebook.