City officials "not at liberty to say" on Randy Scott concerns - - Columbia, South Carolina

City officials "not at liberty to say" on Randy Scott concerns


There was a new car parked in Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott's spot in front of the downtown police station Wednesday morning. His picture is gone from the police department's website and replaced by acting chief Ruben Santiago.

For all intents and purposes, Scott is a ghost in his own town. But questions remain about his sudden leave of absence.

For answers, we traveled to Columbia City Hall and caught up with Scott's direct supervisor, Senior City Manager Allison Baker.

We asked Baker about rumored potential disciplinary action against the chief.

"There have been some concerns raised, but nothing verified," Baker said.

So what kind of concerns have been raised? 

"I'm not at liberty to say that," Baker said.

We have learned of some questionable workplace practices that may have been raised concerning the chief.

When asked if Scott has been missing work or just not showing up, Baker had this to say.

"To expect that you would be in at 8:30 a.m. and stay to 5:00 p.m., that's not the kind of jobs we have," Baker said. "I haven't been in my office for two days, but I have been working."

City Manager Teresa Wilson confirmed in a statement released Wednesday night that she knew of complaints raised against Scott, but she did not reveal what those complaints were. Wilson said she had spoken with Scott about the issues before his leave of absence.

First, I want to restate that Chief Scott's request for a leave of absence was for personal reasons to address some personal issues that he would like to handle.  Due to the personal nature of his request, no further details can be provided.

The request was for an indefinite period of time, which has raised questions about the nature of the leave and whether it is paid or unpaid leave.  Chief Scott is currently utilizing accrued leave time.  Employees on accrued leave receive pay and benefits. 

I would also like to clarify that at no point in time did I make a reference to any media outlet that any disciplinary action had been taken regarding Chief Scott.  I was asked a question about knowledge of any complaints or issues regarding Chief Scott prior to his request for a leave of absence.  The response to that question is yes.  As we would with any complaints or concerns regarding city employees, the issues were discussed with Chief Scott. 

Based on the nature of the personal leave of absence request and the nature of the personnel matters, we cannot disclose or discuss any further details.  We/I have provided all of the details and information that we can at this time.

Again, my primary focus is on the integrity of the Columbia Police Department and ensuring that the daily public safety operations will be handled effectively for our citizens.

Thank you.

- Teresa Wilson

Baker says all issues that are raised to management are discussed with the appropriate people.

"In my daily supervision of all of my staff, I have to talk to with them and check with them about their decisions that they make and things that they do," said Baker. "I think we hear things and if we hear things and they're brought to the attention of the employee again I have not seen anything that has been validated on anything that I have heard."

So we asked if there is an ongoing investigation by the city.

"Our chief of police has asked for a personal leave of absence, that was granted, and that's where it stops," said Baker.

Theresa Wilson's statement backed up Baker, saying due to the "personal nature of his request, no further details can be provided."

Wilson also revealed Scott is using accrued leave time that allows him to still receive pay and benefits while he is on "indefinite" leave.

We've tried to get into contact with Chief Scott himself to see if he'd answer any questions. As of this time, those calls have not been returned.

We have submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to see Scott's personnel file to determine if he has been reprimanded. We've asked how much leave he has, since he's being paid by the city, whether it's sick time or vacation time the chief may have, what's his record when it comes to using city property and if there are any questionable actions. Those requests remain unanswered at this point.

As for our requests, we're told those would be reviewed through the city's legal department and they would get back to us on what information we may be allowed to view.

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