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Lockport seeks audit of police department overtime

The Lockport Police Board wants an independent audit of police department overtime.

The five-member civilian board oversees the department and approves all personnel moves. Its request comes in the wake of a pay dispute involving a former chief of detectives.

Capt. Brian W. Wentland, who until November was head of the detective bureau, claimed $275 in overtime for an incident that occurred on one of his scheduled off days in October, said Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano. Wentland supervised the detectives' response by phone, Ottaviano said.

The city's position is that the police union contract allows claims for overtime only if the officer goes to police headquarters or a crime scene.

"The question arose: How many others have done the same thing or may still be doing it?" Ottaviano said.

Police Chief Michael F. Niethe approved Wentland's overtime claim but then backtracked, Robert L. Boreanaz, attorney for the police union, told The Buffalo News two weeks ago. He contends the city violated the union contract by refusing to pay Wentland's claim.

The Police Board placed Wentland on leave last month and delayed action against him until Feb. 26 – the day Wentland reaches 20 years of service credit and can retire with a full pension and lifetime city-paid health insurance.

Wentland has not announced his retirement, Ottaviano said..

The public affairs website listed Wentland's 2017 pay at $140,448.

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