Cincinnati Police Chief Isaac's Contract Wish List

Feb 27, 2016

Credit Provided / City of Cincinnati

Updated 2/29/16:

The City of Cincinnati will continue to maintain the $10,000 yearly stipend the city provides to chiefs and assistant chiefs in "lieu of overtime, call back, shift differential, court time and shift change compensation." WVXU confirmed the information Monday.

Isaac will also continue to receive a tuition reimbursement for a master's degree program at Xavier University.

The city confirms Isaac can return to the captain rank if he is relieved from the chief's position "for other than just causes as outlined in Article B, Section 5 of the Charter of the city."

Original Story:  Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac asked to be paid $175,000 for the job during negotiations with City Manager Harry Black.  Those discussions took place in November and early December, after Black announced Isaac was his preferred candidate to be the permanent police chief.

In the end, Isaac settled for $162,000 when he was named chief December 10.

The information is revealed in a letter from attorney Tim Burke to Black on behalf of Isaac on December 2, 2015.  It was provided to WVXU through a public records request on Friday.  That request was filed soon after Isaac was named chief.

Burke said a base salary of $175,000 "was reasonable."

"The initial verbal offer of $135,000 is not appropriate," Burke wrote.  "That would result in a situation in which police captains make more than the police chief because of the substantial overtime compensation they receive."

Burke pointed out in the letter that former assistant chief Jim Whalen is being paid $175,000 to be the safety director at the University of Cincinnati with 60 employees.  Burke also wrote the Columbus police chief was paid $181,047 in 2014.

Isaac also asked to maintain the $10,000 yearly stipend the city provides to chiefs and assistant chiefs in "in lieu of overtime, call back, shift differential, court time and shift change compensation."  That essentially would have brought his salary request to $185,000.  

City council passed an ordinance in December changing the maximum salary for the police and fire chiefs to $165,000.

Burke also asked in his letter that Isaac be grant an exemption from the city's residency requirement.

"Chief Isaac has lived in the city of Forest Park all his life," Burke wrote.  "He has successfully fulfilled his 32-year career with the Cincinnati Police Department while living in Forest Park."

City spokesman Rocky Merz said in an e-mail Friday night that Isaac has six months to move into the city of Cincinnati.

Isaac was named executive assistant chief this past summer prior to assuming the role of interim chief in September, when Black fired Chief Jeffrey Blackwell.  When Isaac was named assistant chief, he negotiated to return to the rank of captain if he was relieved from that position.  Burke asked for the same thing for Isaac as chief.

"After he has served as police chief for six months, should the city manager desire to remove Isaac as police chief for anything other than dishonesty, insubordination, malfeasance or conviction of a felony, Isaac shall be offered the opportunity to return to the rank of captain," Burke wrote in his letter.

Merz said in an e-mail he was not sure whether that provision was included in the agreement when Isaac was named chief.

Isaac, at the time, was receiving tuition reimbursement for a master’s degree program at Xavier University.  Burke asked for that to continue since Isaac had one semester left in the program and was expected to complete his degree this spring.  It is also unclear if this was granted.

Isaac has risen through the ranks of the Cincinnati Police department.  As a captain he directed the department’s Criminal Investigations Section and, from 2007 to 2012, he was commander of District 4 in the central city.

Isaac was Black's only candidate for the chief's job.  The city charter gives the manager the right to select chiefs and assistant chiefs from outside the ranks.  The city's last two chiefs came from outside the department.

WVXU will update this story as information becomes available.