NC Statute Calls Chief Putney’s Retirement Plans Into Question

The Latest:

A Wednesday news conference to discuss Chief Putney’s retirement and the related transition process has been cancelled.

The cancellation comes as the Charlotte City Attorney and Human Resources Director seek clarification from the North Carolina retirement system regarding Putney’s plans to retire in January and then return in March to resume his role as chief of police through the 2020 Republican National Convention in August.

NC statute GS 128 21 (19) says, “”Retirement” under this Article shall mean the commencement of monthly retirement benefits, along with the termination of employment and the complete separation from active service with no intent or agreement, expressed or implied, to return to service.”

The City of Charlotte released the following statement Tuesday night regarding the issue:

“The intention for our transition plan is a solution that is in the best interests of the city, the residents of Charlotte and Chief Kerr Putney. There is no intent to circumvent the law. The statute does not prohibit hiring back a retiree, which is a widely accepted practice across the country. The statute defines retirement but does not define the terms by which a retiree may return for limited service. We plan to have Chief Putney return to the city in 2020 to run the day-to-day operations of our police department and lead security efforts surrounding the Republican National Convention next summer, while following all rules for retiree hire-backs. We will seek further clarification from the North Carolina retirement system.”

Officials say the City attorney and human resources director are actively seeking clarification from the state retirement system.

Original Story (October 7, 2019):

CHARLOTTE, NC — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney will retire at the end of the year, according to Charlotte City Manager Marcus Jones.

Effective January 1, 2020, Chief Putney will officially retire and take a two-month hiatus, according to a statement released by Jones Monday evening.

In March, the City Manager says Putney will resume his role as police chief and will serve through the 2020 Republican National Convention. After the convention, he will step down permanently.

“Chief Putney made a commitment to Charlotte to lead our security efforts during the RNC and I know that is important to him,” says Jones. “Because of his experience with the city’s efforts for the DNC in 2012 and his involvement with the current RNC planning, I want him to return and believe this approach gives us the best opportunity to host a more successful RNC for our residents, business community and visitors while also helping Chief Putney meet his personal commitments.”

An interim chief will be named during Putney’s brief hiatus, says Jones, and a permanent replacement will be named after he steps down in August following the RNC.

Chief Putney released the following video announcement via YouTube Monday night:

Putney has been with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department since 1992 when he became a patrol officer. After working his way up through the ranks, Putney was promoted to deputy chief of police in 2007, and became chief on July 1, 2015.

A news conference to address transition plans is schedule for 10:30 Wednesday morning. Follow WCCB Charlotte’s CW on air and online for the latest updates on this story.