“Retired” Cops Collect Big Pension Payout, Only to Be Hired by D.A. 4 Days Later

The FOP cries foul.

John McNesby and Seth Williams. | Photos by AP

John McNesby and Seth Williams. | Photos by AP

Oh, this is awkward.

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 5 was recently locked in a contentious dispute with District Attorney Seth Williams – over a pair of former Philadelphia police supervisors.

Captains William Murtha and Ted Sideras retired on January 8th. Murtha pocketed $482,691 through the city’s DROP program, while Sideras netted $406,990, according to the city Board of Pensions and Retirement.

Four days later, both men were hired to work as prosecution detective captains for the D.A.’s Office.

Murtha, who joined the police force in 1988, and Sideras, who joined in 1980, had been assigned to the D.A.’s Office when they retired. Both men were hired back at the $107,565 salary they earned in 2015.

Philadelphia, of course, has a long and rich history of elected officials retiring, filling up their bank accounts with DROP cash, and then un-retiring. It’s part of what makes the city so maddening sometimes.

Here’s why the union was upset with the D.A.’s Office for making the hires: Murtha and Sideras were doing work that should have been assigned to active duty Philly cops detailed to the office, according to FOP president John McNesby.

“That’s our work that they’re doing,” he said. “It should be done by other members of our bargaining unit.”

The D.A.’s Office painted a slightly different picture of the arrangement.

Cameron Kline, Williams’ spokesman, said in an emailed statement that Murtha and Sideras were “temporarily reinstated by the District Attorney pursuant to the Philadelphia Code and after discussions with Fraternal Order of Police President McNesby.”

“That’s bullshit,” McNesby said.

The union filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board over the matter, seeking to have both Murtha and Sideras removed.

But the situation has already reached a happy-ish ending. Sideras and Murtha retired – again – late last month, Kline said. Their duties were “quickly transitioned” to other members of the office, he said.

“In as much as they are no longer employed in the [D.A.’s Office], it would appear that any filing by the FOP with the PA Labor Relations Board is now moot,” Kline said.

“The [D.A.’s Office] has restructured its law enforcement division in order to better serve the citizens of Philadelphia and looks forward to continued cooperation with the FOP.”