WILTON MANORS – The embattled chief of the Wilton Manors Police Department who admitted circulating racist e-mails from headquarters has now been asked to resign – over a separate issue.
If Chief Richard E. Perez does not resign by the end of today, he will be fired, several sources have said, for alleged violation of city vacation policies.
City Manager Joseph Gallegos could not be reached for comment over reports that he issued the ultimatum to Perez on Monday, Columbus Day. Several sources say Perez has been contacting friends to request their support.
“He called me and said the city manager gave him until today to resign or he would be fired,” said a friend of Perez’s, who asked not to be named. “He wants folks to call the city commissioners to show their support for him and I will because he’s a decent guy who made some mistakes.”
Perez is serving 30 days of unpaid suspension over the offensive e-mails he circulated to members of his command staff and private citizens. Disciplinary action against other employees who also circulated the e-mails is pending.
However, the request for his resignation is related to an ongoing internal city investigation into Perez’s alleged violations of the city’s leave policies. Gallegos confirmed to the South Florida Times in August that he was investigating an alleged abuse of those policies by Perez and Capt. Dorris Seibert.
Human Resources Director Brenda Clanton said she could not provide any information on those investigations.
“I’m confident it will be resolved but I have no information at this time,” Clanton told South Florida Times this morning.
Nevertheless, according to sources familiar with the investigation, Perez allegedly took time off from work for which he was being paid but never turned in the required leave forms.
“It equaled to just under $9,000 in unaccounted for time,” one source said.
Even though Perez is on suspension, he is attending an all-day training for police department managers at city hall today and could not be reached for comment.
By failing to submit the required forms, an employee in Wilton Manors could be paid while at the same time not depleting their hours of sick, vacation and executive time they accrued over the years.
That banked time could then be used as a reserve to pay them a salary if they should have a catastrophic illness. It could also be exchanged for cash when they retire or leave employment under acceptable conditions.
Perez earns an annual salary of $115,544. He was hired in 2006 after retiring from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, becoming the first Hispanic chief in Wilton Manors’ 63-year history.
Pictured Above: Richard E. Perez