The town of York paid its former police chief $50,000 in severance to avoid any future legal skirmishes after the chief was abruptly placed on paid leave for more than two months this summer.

Charles J. Szeniawski, 64, was removed from his position in mid-July for an undisclosed reason, and the town’s human resources director, Kathryn Lagasse, declined to discuss why.

“That is a personnel matter, and it’s confidential,” Lagasse said.

When reached Friday by phone, Szeniawski, of York, declined an interview request.

“You know we can’t discuss it,” he said, before hanging up.

His 41-year career in York started in 1980, when he was hired first as a reserve police officer and then as a full-time patrolman. Szeniawski worked his way up the ranks until he was promoted from captain to chief in 2019, Lagasse said.


The agency is being led by acting Police Chief Owen Davis, who was deputy chief under Szeniawski. A search for Szeniawski’s permanent replacement has not yet begun, Lagasse said.

In a Sept. 23 resignation letter, Szeniawski thanked York residents for his lengthy career.

“I have enjoyed serving the public throughout these years and know the organization will continue to accomplish outstanding work, provide great service and continue to be a leader in Law Enforcement,” he wrote to Town Manager Stephen Burns on Sept. 23.

The $50,000 payout comes with terms.

Szeniawski and the town agreed not to disparage each other, and Szeniawski agreed not to bring legal claims against the town. The settlement and severance agreement was finalized Sept. 16. That agreement and Szeniawski’s resignation letter were obtained via a Freedom of Access Act request.

Szeniawski was among the town’s top paid employees, Lagasse said. His most recent salary was $133,062.51. His pension application with the Maine Public Employee Retirement System is still pending, and the benefit amount he will receive has not been determined, said Michael Colleran, a MainePERS attorney.

Szeniawski is married to former longtime York town clerk Mary-Anne Szeniawski, who retired in May.

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