Twin Rivers Unified School District reached a settlement with its embattled police chief, who has spent more than a year on paid administrative leave while being investigated for misconduct.
Twin Rivers Chief of Police Christopher Breck tendered his resignation Tuesday night in exchange for $36,500. His wife, Margueritte Dias-Breck, a former Twin Rivers police officer, will receive $1,000 in the settlement.
Dias-Breck also will get $112,500 to settle two workers' compensation claims, contingent on the approval of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, said Twin Rivers spokeswoman Zenobia Gerald.
Efforts to reach Breck and Dias-Breck were unsuccessful Wednesday.
School board President Cortez Quinn said the settlement was in the best interest of the school district. "This brings closure to this part of our district's history," Quinn said. "We are moving forward and continuing to do our work educating our children."
Breck's settlement and resignation were reached following a 6-1 vote at Tuesday's school board meeting. Trustee Linda Fowler cast the lone "no" vote.
Fowler said Wednesday that she felt it was unethical to pay Breck when there are substantial allegations against him. "I think there is enough evidence for termination for cause," she said.
Breck was placed on paid leave Nov. 10, 2011, soon after allegations of wrongdoing in his school police department first surfaced publicly. Those allegations included excessive car towings that profited the police force and the existence of unregistered weapons stored in the department's evidence room.
Breck was sworn in as chief of police in 2008 for the newly formed Twin Rivers district. He previously worked for the Grant Joint Unified High School District police force, which became the Twin Rivers department when four school districts merged.
He earned $116,000 as chief of police with Twin Rivers.
"This isn't something we wanted to do," said trustee John Dexter. "It was one of those you hold your nose and you vote. It was the best economic outcome we could ask for."
Dexter said trustees were advised that Breck could appeal his termination or file a civil suit, both of which would cost the district more than the settlement.
"To do the right thing will cost us 10 times as much," Dexter said. "We don't have the money to do that. We have to figure out how we can afford libraries next year."
Fowler said she did not agree with fellow board members that settling was in the best interest of the district financially.
"The new board is fearful of legal fees," Fowler said. "I believe we have a fiduciary duty to our constituents and the public at large to keep things ethical. People can't get away with things simply in fear of legal fees."
Interim Superintendent Joseph Williams declined to be interviewed. He issued a statement that said, "The district and the community can now turn toward healing, rebuilding confidence and trust, and focusing our energy on what is most important to us educating our students and keeping them safe."