More questions than answers in Randy Scott's leave of absence - - Columbia, South Carolina

More questions than answers in Randy Scott's leave of absence


Questions remain over the indefinite leave of absence being taken by Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott. WIS continues to investigate and ask tough questions of city officials.   

One question many of you have asked us and we're asking ourselves is how Scott can have enough paid time off after being re-hired in January following a brief retirement?

We asked the city for the information, but after our requests Thursday went unanswered, we found the information ourselves in the city's handbook. According to the employee handbook, employees receive 10 days per year, up to 5 years, for annual leave.

At the sixth year, one day is added per year. Accumulated time will be paid to an associate who leaves voluntarily. City employees also earn one sick day per month worked with the maximum being 90 days. Full-time city employees receive 10 paid holidays.

So which category does Scott fall into? We have asked numerous people and seem to get the same response: it's a personnel issue.

Even Chief Scott's Facebook page was taken down.

We even asked Scott's former boss at the Richland County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Leon Lott, if he's heard from the chief, and he made it seem routine.

"He's just taking some time off," said Lott.

Is that really what's going on? Scott's leave is unusual because the signs do not point to a temporary leave because he didn't ask for sick time under the city's guidelines.

We've asked the city for information that might shed some light on the reason why, we've asked to see his contracts to better understand how much leave he may have available, we've gotten no response from the city. We asked to see the letter from Chief Scott to the city manager requesting the leave of absence.

"We checked on that from a legal stand point if that could be released, so we've been told that it cannot," said city public relations official Leshia Utsey.

We consulted with our attorney, who believes that information should be public, so again this afternoon we delivered a letter to City Manager Teresa Wilson, outlining there is no personnel clause in the Freedom of Information Act. Again, we weren't allowed upstairs, made to wait in the lobby, and when an assistant arrived to take it, even then we were met with resistance.

However, we have uncovered glaring professional issues for Scott. Lawsuits have been filed, and there are new allegations of Scott's involvement in criminal domestic violence cases against his officers.

The same day Scott's leave was made public, a lawsuit naming him made the jump from circuit court to federal court. It's a case filed by Officer Shannon Williams, who was fired last year. It's the third suit naming Scott in federal court dealing with the unfair termination of employees.  Andre Williams and Isa Greene are the others.

Now another complaint has come forward, again with concerns about Scott's professional action concerning his officers. Weeks ago, we asked the city for legal documents concerning an issue regarding a woman who did not want to be identified. She believes her complaint has raised some concerns.

"I just think everything is just starting to add up and boil over, and I think the city has no other choice but to step in and do something about it," said the woman.

The woman is a CDV victim who went to the Columbia Police Department to try and get help for her husband, an officer. It ultimately led to an order of protection hearing, one she was surprised to see the Chief Scott attend.

"At first, there was a part of me that was like, 'Well, maybe he's not here in support, he just wants to see what's going on to understand really what is going on,' and as the hearing progressed I realized, 'Oh my gosh, my worst nightmare. Here he is. He's actually in support of my abuser," said the woman.

She claims the department was made aware, and the officer had not been truthful with his past record. She was told an investigation would be done, but she's never been informed of any results. She believes when we recently requested records, it caused more questions to be asked.

"I really hope the city steps in and looks at what's going on because I just truly believe there's a lot more than we all know," said the woman.

Right now, it's tough to know if this is all a coincidence or if city officials are looking into something more.

In the meantime, Interim Chief Ruben Santiago has taken over as the head of the department.

But the questions continue to remain. What is going on? We'll continue to keep you posted.

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