Former Tempe police chief Ryff files civil suit against City

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Former Tempe Police Chief Tom Ryff (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 file photo via Tempe Police Department) Former Tempe Police Chief Tom Ryff (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 file photo via Tempe Police Department)

The former police chief of Tempe filed a civil suit on Tuesday against the City of Tempe, claiming the city breached a clause in his retirement agreement.

Tom Ryff filed the lawsuit, claiming the City breached a non-disparagement clause in his retirement agreement, which prevented him from securing a position with the Tempe Union High School District.

In March, Ryff filed a notice of claim letter threatening a lawsuit against the City of Tempe for allegedly violating his retirement agreement. In the notice, Ryff was seeking $1 million.

The lawsuit does not specify how much Ryff is seeking.

Ryff spent more than 35 years with the Tempe Police Department, including the last nine years as police chief. Ryff retired on Dec. 1, 2015, but cut a deal with the City to stay on as a consultant. The move kept Ryff employed with the city to reach the 10-year mark in the Arizona State Retirement System and afford him a slight increase in his retirement pay. 

Ryff had already been receiving retirement pay from the Arizona Public Safety Retirement System. That began in 2006 when he retired from the department and was appointed chief. 

[RELATED: Ex-police chief plans $1M lawsuit against Tempe]

On Wednesday, the City of Tempe released a statement:

“The City of Tempe is confident in our position and we look forward to being vindicated in court.”

[RELATED: Tempe police chief on his way out, sends letter to employees (June 22, 2015)]

Nikki Ripley, a spokeswoman for the City of Tempe, said the City will file an answer in Superior Court within 20 days.

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