NIAGARA FALLS – John R. Chella said Saturday he will retire at the end of the year as Niagara Falls police superintendent.
Chella late last year had said he intended to retire but then put his plans on hold after a disagreement with the state over the retirement pay he would collect.
This time, the retirement announcement appears to be solid after he said the disagreement has been “worked out.”
“Certain verbal benefits I had [with mayors] Anello and Dyster had be finalized in written form,” Chella told The Buffalo News Saturday. “Overtime was part of that.”
Chella, a member of the Niagara Falls Police Department for over 40 years, earned a base salary of $85,800 as the city’s top cop, a post he has held for the past nine years. At issue was $39,000 in additional overtime and extra allowances he had collected.
He pulled his retirement at the end of last year when his final year’s salary of $125,000 was rejected by state retirement administrators because the state law said agreements for exempt employees had to be in writing.
The 63-year-old Chella started as a cop with the city 42 years ago, walking the beat. He then spent 21 years in narcotics and was promoted to chief.
He took over as superintendant nine years ago and has been credited for pushing community policing and computerized crime analysis.
Administrative Capt. John DeMarco will serve as interim superintendent until a replacement is named.
Chella said he lobbied for a person from the Niagara Falls Police Department to be named as his successor. “That’s not my call," he added. “The final decision will be up to the mayor.”