Columbus offered police chief a $250,000 severance package. Here are the details
Columbus Police Chief Freddie Blackmon was offered a $250,000 severance package on March 15 after unveiling the department’s new strategic plan to council the day prior, the Columbus’ mayor confirmed Friday.
A copy of the package obtained by the Ledger-Enquirer showed Blackmon was offered the following:
A one-time lump sum gross payment of $250,000
Health insurance benefits until May 2030
Compensation for unused vacation time
Eligibility for participation in the Columbus consolidated government (CCG) pension plan to cease his position by April 5
Mayor Skip Henderson confirmed to the Ledger-Enquirer that Blackmon was offered a severance package. Blackmon, who started as chief in November of 2020, has an annual salary of $141,984, according to public documents.
Blackmon has worked for CPD since 1986.
“It was not a comfortable feeling, but as I stated I know there are challenges. But, I would definitely like to have the opportunity to work at the implementation of the strategic plan,” Blackmon told station WTVM.
The strategic plan is an attempt to address criticisms of the department from a privately funded study conducted by Jensen Hughes. The main problems outlined in a Feb. 15 city council meeting included the need for gang enforcement strategy, need for more staff and expanding the departments special operations unit.
The report also cited low morale and micromanagement among the department as two other concerns as reported by the Ledger-Enquirer.
Blackmon told WTVM he presented an original five-year strategic plan in December of 2021 which addressed economic growth, health care and mental-health treatment as areas of concern for violent crime.
He stated the previous chief of police, Ricky Boren, was not treated the same way.
“So, it presents to me as I’m being treated differently because of my race,” he said.
Blackmon’s new strategic plan called for increased financial benefits for police officers and restructuring of different sections of the department. This includes combining robbery-assault and homicide units which went into effect on March 4.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.