VALLEJO – Former Vallejo Police Chief Shawny Williams will receive over $408,000 in severance after he suddenly resigned from the city last November, according to a resignation and separation agreement obtained by the Vallejo Sun through a public records request.
Williams will receive the severance in a lump sum which is equal to 18 months of his salary at $131 per hour.
Additional terms include the city paying $15,000 to Williams for lawyer's fees, and for Williams to participate with the city in the defense of several current lawsuits against Vallejo police. Williams also agreed not to file any claims against the city.
Williams went on paid vacation a week before he resigned from the police department.
"City and Williams agree that it is in the best interest of the parties that he resign his position as Police Chief under the terms and conditions of this agreement, and that the city accept that resignation," according to the resignation and separation agreement.
Deputy Police Chief Jason Ta was elevated to interim police chief until the department hires Williams’ permanent replacement. Ta is receiving a 10% pay raise as interim chief, bumping his salary to $122 per hour, according to documents the Vallejo Sun obtained via a separate public records request.
Williams, the city's first Black police chief, had a tumultuous three-year term as chief, which included a public feud with the Vallejo Police Officers Association over low staffing levels within the department and the departure of several senior-level members of his command staff.
Williams was lured away from the San Jose Police Department in late 2019 as part of an effort to reform the Vallejo Police Department, which killed 19 men since 2010. As part of its reform efforts, the city hired a private firm to conduct an assessment of the department. In May 2020, the OIR Group released a report which included 45 different recommendations. City officials confirmed last year that only two recommendations have been completed.
Williams terminated a handful of officers and members of his command staff but many of those decisions were overturned.
An arbitrator overturned the terminations of lieutenants Michael Nichelini and Herman Robinson after they were fired by Williams. Both men filed separate lawsuits alleging they were harassed by Williams.
Meanwhile, a review hearing also found that termination was excessive for Detective Jarrett Tonn, who shot and killed Sean Monterrosa outside a Vallejo Walgreens during the early morning hours of June 2, 2020, but Williams proceeded with his termination anyway. Tonn is also expected to appeal his firing to arbitration.
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THE VALLEJO SUN NEWSLETTER
Investigative reporting, regular updates, events and more
- Vallejo Police Department
- Vallejo Police Officers Association
- Shawny Williams
- Jaston Ta
- OIR Group
- Michael Nichelini
- Sean Monterrosa
- Jarrett Tonn
- Herman Robinson
John Glidden worked as a journalist covering the city of Vallejo for more than 10 years. He left journalism in 2023 and currently works in the office of Solano County Supervisor Monica Brown.
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