December 05th, 2023

police chiefs infographicELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times


Contracts for a handful of top City of Liberal employees have recently come under scrutiny, with the most recent one coming with the recent swearing in of Dennis Mulanax as Liberal’s police chief after Al Sill’s termination in January. 

Mulanax’s contract was approved during the most recent meeting of the Liberal City Commission June 12 and had many differences from the contract drawn up before Sill’s termination at the commission’s first meeting of 2018. 

Both contracts begin by detailing the duties of the chief of police including supervision of all departmental personnel, preparing and submitting the department’s budget and supervision and control of all department equipment and motor vehicles belonging  to the police department, among others. However, the compensation and benefits are vastly different between the two contracts. 

“CITY agrees to pay CHIEF for his services an annual base salary of $95,000 subject to the increases set forth ... and payable in installments at the same time as the other employees of CITY are paid,” Mulanax’s contract noted. “Provided further that CITY may increase said base salary and/or other benefits of CHIEF at any such time CITY may determine.”

“The City shall pay to the Chief as compensation for services rendered pursuant to the terms of this contract an annualized base salary of $108,056 per year, said amount to be paid in the same manner as other City employees,” Sill’s contract noted. “In addition to said base salary, the City shall contribute $5,000 annually to an International City/County Management Association Deferred Compensation Account for the Chief payable at such intervals that are divisible by each city pay period.”

Another difference between the two contracts is the provision regarding the use of a vehicle. 

“The City of Liberal agrees to pay $600 each month to the Chief for using a personal vehicle,” Mulanax’s contract noted. “The Chief of Police will be responsible for all normal repairs, service and liability insurance of said vehicle. Fuel for the personal vehicle will be provided by the Police Department or the City of Liberal’s contracted service provider. If traveling out of town for business purposes, fuel will be charged on a fuel card or credit card provided by the City of Liberal or the Police Department. If said vehicle is involved in an accident or incident while being used in the course of such Chief or City of Liberal duties, business trainings, etc., the City of Liberal agrees to pay $1,000 insurance deductible, towing costs, rental fees and other associated costs.” 

“The City agrees to pay the Chief a vehicle allowance of $7,500 annually, paid monthly, for the purchase and maintenance of a personally owned vehicle to be used for official city business,” Sill’s contract noted. “The terms of a vehicle allowance are outlined in a separate agreement, which includes an annual increase of $120.” 

Another difference between the two contracts is Mulanax’s contract has a provision regarding performance evaluations. 

“The City Manager shall review and evaluate the performance and salary of the Chief at least once annually in advance of the adoption of the annual operating budget,” Mulanax’s contract noted. “Said review and evaluation shall be in accordance with specific criteria developed by the City Manager and Chief. Said criteria may be added or deleted as the City Manager may, from time to time, determine in consultation with the Chief. Further, the City Manager shall provide the Chief with a summary written statement of the findings of the City Manager, provide an adequate opportunity for the Chief to discuss his evaluation and provide the opportunity to determine whether training, education or other measures.”

Both contracts have similar provisions regarding vacation and sick leave as well as provisions about what would happen upon the event of resignation, including severance pay and the payout of the other benefits outlined in the respective contracts.