Westport police chief, deputy chief to retire, yet stay on

Photo of Amanda Cuda

WESTPORT — The town’s police chief and deputy chief will retire, but will also be retained under contract to keep doing the jobs for a while longer.

First Selectman Jim Marpe announced that, effective Thursday, Police Chief Foti Koskinas and Deputy Police Chief Sam Arciola will retire from the Westport Police Department but Koskinas will be retained under contract for three more years and Arciola will be retained until Dec. 31, 2022.

In a statement released Monday, Marpe said Arciola became eligible to retire with full benefits in 2016 and Koskinas became eligible in July, with both notifying him of their intention to retire recently. But losing them both at the same time wouldn’t have been a good thing for the town, he noted.

“It was agreed that at this sensitive time in the evolution of police accountability and responsibilities at the national and local levels, that a full change in leadership of the department would create a disruption that could have a negative effect on the Westport community as well as the successful operation of our police services,” Marpe said.

Koskinas and Arciola will begin collecting a pension effective Friday and will no longer accrue pension credits, said Ralph M. Chetcuti, Westport personnel and human resources director.

“They will then begin to collect a salary as is stated in the contracts,” he said. “This is not an unusual situation as there are other municipalities in Connecticut that have this arrangement.”

Finance director Gary Conrad said in an email that Koskinas will be retiring with a pension of $115,182 annually and will be rehired as chief under contract for three years at a salary of $175,000. However, he will not be entitled to health or dental benefits as they are part of the post-retirement benefits for retired officers.

Arciola will be receiving a pension of $127,121 and will be rehired as deputy chief under contract for one year at a salary of $160,600. He won’t be entitled to health or dental either.

The first year savings is projected to be $122,896, while years two and three are projected to save the Westport taxpayers $64,038 in each year following.

Marpe said though there are people in the department “well on their way to stepping into the chief and deputy chief roles,” they need time “to develop the full range of skills and community relationships to be successful as the department’s senior leaders.”

Together, Koskinas and Arciola have more than 56 years of experience in the Westport Police Department. Koskinas started his career in January 1996, and Arciola began in May 1990.

They were promoted to their current positions upon the retirement of former Police Chief Dale Call in 2016.

“I am honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to work with and for the Town of Westport,” Koskinas said. “Aside from my family, the last 27 years have been some of the most exciting and gratifying times of my life while serving and working alongside members of this community. I am confident that we will have continued successes as we navigate through some difficult times in our country, and certainly in law enforcement.”