Chief Randy Scott's retirement deal remains under microscope

Published: Apr. 24, 2013 at 9:51 PM EDT|Updated: May. 4, 2013 at 9:51 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - We continue to ask questions about the retirement payout on former Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott.

We learned former city manager Steve Gantt authorized purchasing 2 years, 10 months and one day of military time for Scott at a cost of nearly $52,000 dollars.

On Monday, we asked current city manager Teresa Wilson about the purchase.

"The city manager has authority up to $50,000 and from my understanding, the city manager briefed the city council about that purchase," said Wilson.

A source tells us as long as the money already exists in a budget allocated for police salaries, the city manager would have the authority to use that money set aside for police raises or new positions to make a purchase for Chief Scott. But the city manager and council also said this was why that purchase was made.

"When Chief Scott left the county, I think that there were certain retirement benefits and assurance benefits he would have been vested in at the time that he left and thus he forgo those benefits and I believe the prior city manager gave that some consideration in making his decision," said Wilson.

We also took our questions to the South Carolina Retirement System for more information on how payouts work.

We learned it's a complicated process and there are several different ways both employees and employers can buy into someone's retirement.

The state has about 850 employees who use the state retirement system, that's all forms of government employees from police officers to someone who works at City Hall.

Employees are not able to opt out if your employer is part of the system. We asked how often employers might buy additional years so an employee retires early. It's typically part of an incentive package to reduce an employers payroll and it's less than 5 percent of state government employees.

We also learned up until January, those buyouts came at different rates. Buying military time was done at 16 percent of employees highest-pay rate versus nonqualified time which comes at 35 percent of a person's highest pay rate.

It's worth pointing out the time the city paid for Chief Scott was military time, which was purchased at the lower rate.

In the meantime, we are setting up an interview with Steve Gantt to ask him directly about the situation.

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