Scrutiny of Police Chief’s Retirement Plan Grows

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – It’s one minute and 20 seconds of video Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney may now wish he could take back. He says, “January 1 of 2020, I am gonna officially retire through the state system,” and, “The city manager (Marcus Jones) has decided he’s gonna hire me back.”

That plan seemingly violates a North Carolina general statute which defines government retirement in part as: “…the complete separation from active service with no intent or agreement, expressed or implied, to return to service.”

Now, the state treasurer is involved. Dale Folwell declined to comment on Putney’s plan specifically, citing pension system privacy, but he did tell WCCB, “We don’t pick and choose who we apply the laws to. We apply them universally.”

Folwell says these laws have been on the books for 40 years, and that the federal government helped develop the guidelines. 900,000 people are in the pension system; that’s one out of 10 North Carolinians. Folwell tells WCCB the pension system represents the 26th largest pool of public funds in the world, and, “Ensuring we are following laws and keeping our tax exempt status is very critical to us.”

In the video, the Chief also says, “The truth of the matter is, I’m retiring through the state in January, I’m coming back after about 30 days or so, and we’re gonna execute what we started.”

He is referencing the Republican National Convention in August 2020.

We’ve asked CMPD who scripted and approved the chief’s video message. So far, no reply. And right now all the city will tell us is their attorneys are working with state attorneys, and that they welcome the state treasurer to talk with them.