COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Columbus Police Chief, Freddie Blackmon, was once again the topic of discussion during the public agenda portion of Tuesday’s Columbus City Council meeting.

Columbus City Council gave Chief Blackmon 30 days to come up with a strategic plan and present it to council, which he did. 24 hours later a severance package was on the table.

“A severance package was offered after you asked him to come and to submit a strategic plan that would take it forward and give him an opportunity to implement it.”

Rev. Johnny Flakes, III, Public Agenda Columbus City Council

The Columbus community was in an uproar Tuesday, some saying they aren’t giving the chief a chance to implement the plan.

“”It was a total mockery. You gave 30 days. He came up, gave a presentation, and it was a total mockery to him. “

Paul Olson – Columbus Resident

Chief Blackmon’s strategic plan works towards resolving the ongoing recruitment and retention issues within the department. On the City Manager’s Agenda was a request for the approval of the Columbus Police Department to implement quarterly retention bonuses and incentives for the 2023 calendar year.

It states:

“Approval is requested to provide $1,500 quarterly retention bonuses for calendar year 2023
applicable to full-time Sworn Officers and full-time 911 Communications Technicians employed
in the Columbus Police Department as well as relocation assistance up to $3,000 and employee
referral incentives of $600 for employees in the Columbus Police Department.”

City Manager’s Agenda

Councilor Judy Thomas asked to table the request.

“This covers two fiscal year budgets and it was not discussed in the fiscal 23′ year budget presentation, and I would like to request that it be tabled until we have the 24′ budget discussions which happen, as I recall, in the month of May. “

Councilor Judy Thomas – District 9

Mayor Henderson and City Manager Isaiah Hughley noted this was a part of Chief Blackmon’s strategic plan and things got heated.

Henderson said, “If council decides to vote, then we can do that but the idea, I think, was to try to get something in place at the request of the Chief for retention purposes prior to the budget.”

Hughley noted this is what council asked of the Chief.

Hughley said, “That’s right, Mayor. If I can’t make any comments, just tell me to shut up.”

Henderson followed it with, “I don’t think that’s what’s happening. We need to just go on down to the to the next item.”

The funding request was tabled and will be revisited. The Council agenda went on as normal.
No resolution or discussion regarding Chief Blackmon’s employment status was mentioned.