Elected leaders in Boxboro, Massachusetts, and the town’s embattled police chief have reached a settlement agreement where he will step down from his position and retire, the NBC10 Investigators have learned.
Warren Ryder had been on paid administrative leave since January 2022 after the Select Board took the surprising vote of asking the FBI to investigative payroll discrepancies within the police department.
The controversy centered around some officers getting more money for higher education degrees they had not earned.
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It is an issue that divided the community. Residents took opposing views displayed on signs in their yards.
Some people in the community have supported the efforts as needed police accountability, while others have described the situation as a “witch hunt” and local government overreach.
“I’m pleased all parties have come to an agreeable resolution,” Town Administrator Michael Johns told NBC10. “It’s been kind of an open wound for the community and having it resolved will be a great opportunity for healing and getting back to regular business.”
According to settlement agreement, Ryder’s resignation is effective on April 7. He will receive roughly $135,000 of combined severance pay, unused vacation, and retroactive pay raises.
The ongoing situation has come at a cost for taxpayers. While Ryder, who had been police chief since 2010, has continued to collect his $155,000 salary, the Town has also shelled out a separate six-figure income for another person to fill the important public safety role in his place.
We called and emailed Ryder for his comment about the settlement and are waiting for his response.
Earlier this year, we told you how Ryder broke his silence on social media, announcing he’d been “exonerated” because the Department of Justice would not be pursuing a criminal indictment against him.
However, town leaders cautioned they were still awaiting the completion of their own private investigation into the police department.
Last month, we reported the Select Board planned to hold a hearing and determine whether Ryder should be fired. According to a document the NBC10 Investigators obtained, the allegations included:
- Intentionally or negligently allowing multiple police officers to receive education incentive pay in amounts to which they were not entitled for an extended period of time
- Improper disposal or destruction of police department computer equipment
- Retaliating against a police department employee for assisting in the outside investigation
- Failure to uphold the duties and responsibilities of the police chief position
At the time, Ryder told us he looked forward to defending himself against the allegations and said he would request the hearing be held in an open session. The police chief later told us he and town leaders were negotiating settlement options.
According to the agreement, the Town cancelled the disciplinary hearing and said it would not initiate any further investigations concerning Ryder’s employment.
An interim police chief has been at the helm since November and will continue in that role for the foreseeable future, while Johns said the Town conducts a search for a permanent replacement.
Ryan Kath can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on Facebook.