City pays former top cop $20,000

Former Oak Harbor Police Chief Tony Barge will be getting $20,000 from the city.

The Oak Harbor city council agreed Tuesday to a pay off Barge, a former 30-year member of the city’s police department, after he threatened litigation through his attorney, Mitch Cogdill of Everett.

City Attorney Phil Bleyhl said the settlement involves severance pay and other issues. Bleyhl said he could yet not go into details on the agreement with Barge since the former chief has a seven-day grace period to change his mind.

Bleyhl did say that there was a contract dispute over whether the severance pay issue survived until the end of Barge’s contract. Under law, he said someone with a valid wage claim receives double the amount plus attorney fees.

The settlement agreement with Barge, Bleyhl said, is worded so that he cannot bring up any other issues in the future and sue the city.

Barge could not be reached for comment. Cogdill did not immediately return phone calls.

Mayor Patty Cohen chose to end the city’s contract with Barge last summer. Though his contract ended in June 30, she let him stay on as chief until Aug. 31 so that he could qualify for a 30-year retirement plan.

Cohen hired the new police chief, Stephen Almon from Oklahoma, earlier this year. He started work in February.

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