3 Police Supervisors Are Given Retirement : Corona Officials Deny That Their Disabilities Were Job-Related, Thereby Lowering Pensions

Times Staff Writer

Six months after granting their beleaguered police chief a job-related disability retirement, city officials have retired three more police supervisors, but they denied that any stress suffered by the officers was caused by their jobs.

Capt. James Valle, Lt. Gary Salyer and Sgt. David Sparkman were retired, effective last month, by City Manager James D. Wheaton and two City Council members, Wheaton said Friday.

If the city officials had decided the officers' disabilities were caused by their jobs, the three would receive pensions equal to half their ending salaries, according to Tim Bowers, safety officer in the city's Personnel Department.

A Third of Salaries

Instead, the retired officers will receive, on average, only about one-third of their former salaries, he said.

The officers, whose claims for workers' compensation benefits are still pending before the state Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, have been on leave since early June, Bowers said.

Both Wheaton and Bowers declined to reveal details of the disabilities that prevent the officers from returning to work, citing privacy concerns and their pending workers' compensation claims.

Valle, Salyer and Sparkman "were retired on non-industrial disability retirements, which means that they are medically precluded from carrying out their usual and customary job duties," Bowers said.

The officers can appeal the determination that their disabilities are not work-related to the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, he pointed out.

Valle, 47, was a Corona police officer for 19 years. He will receive 34% of his $3,985 monthly salary, Bowers estimated, or about $16,259 annually.

He'll Get 38%

Salyer, 43, put in 21 years on the force. He will receive 38% of his $3,281 monthly salary, or about $14,961 annually. Their retirements are retroactive to Dec. 21, 1985, Bowers said.

Sparkman, 39, served 19 years. He will receive 25% of his $2,834 monthly salary, or about $8,502 annually. His retirement is retroactive to Dec. 1, Bowers said.

All three declined comment, referring all questions to their attorney, Harold L. Greene of Encino, who was out of town and unavailable for comment.

When city officials granted former Police Chief Bob J. Talbert a disability retirement in July, they said his stress, ulcers and hiatal hernia were related to his work. His related workers' compensation claim is still pending before the state appeals board.

A Riverside County jury last May found Talbert and his deputy, Ed Sampson, not guilty of conspiring to obstruct justice, a charge that stemmed from a bitter labor dispute within the department in 1984.

Sampson, who has also filed a disability claim, is still on leave of absence. The city has not received medical reports necessary to grant him a disability retirement, Bowers said.

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