Updated: Nov 9, 2022
As they say, it was an offer they couldn't refuse, and they didn't.
Columbus Division of Police Deputy Chiefs Ken Kuebler, Tim Becker, Kelly Weiner, Tom Quinlan, and Jennifer Knight applied for the City's one-time $500,000 retirement incentive payment to voluntarily call it a career, The Sussi Report learned.
The City's retirement incentive is limited to four deputy chiefs and will be determined by seniority. The four recipients will leave the Division between January 8-13, 2023. All five deputy chiefs have at least 25 years of service, which was a requirement to apply.
According to Nichole M. Brandon, the City's Director of Dept. of Human Resources, the $2 million will come from the City's General Fund – your tax dollars.
Will the Division replace the outgoing four deputy chiefs, and if so, will they come from within the Division, outside of the Division, or a combination of both? The Sussi Report reached out Wednesday to the Division's Media Relations Dept. and received this email from Sgt. Joe Albert, Aide to Chief Elaine Bryant.
"If any Deputy Chief positions become vacated, Chief Bryant and her team will begin the process to appoint new Deputy Chief(s). There is not a set timeframe for this to occur, but the individuals who are promoted to the rank of Deputy Chief will come from the Division."
The $500,000 buyout incentive does come with several stipulations.
For instance, the Division employees agree to waive their rights to re-employment and rehire or reinstatement with the Division. They also agree to drop any lawsuits or claims against the City.
Knight has a federal lawsuit pending against her employer, claiming gender and race discrimination and retaliation. And Kuebler has an open complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.
Kuebler, recall, was the target of an independent investigation into his Twitter posts. In the end, the investigation conducted by the BakerHostetler law firm cost taxpayers $13,379.02, and after two years of idling, Robert Clark, Director of Public Safety, closed the probe.
Interestingly, Becker, Knight, Weiner, and Quinlan have all applied for the chief of police opening in Springfield, Ohio.
Deputy chiefs currently earn $187,574 a year. According to current union figures, those who retire will collect a monthly pension of approximately $11,000.
Last July, Columbus City Council approved a $300,00 buyout to the five deputy chiefs. None of them accepted the offer.
Earlier this year, 100 Division personnel, including four commanders, nine lieutenants, and 28 sergeants, accepted a one-time $200,000 retirement-incentive buyout. Those funds came from the City's federal COVID Relief Funds. The offer cost taxpayers 20 million and left the Division severely understaffed.
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