COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — New details regarding Police Chief Freddie Blackmon’s severance package have emerged.
The city of Columbus and Blackmon came to a final agreement earlier this month. That deal allows the chief to retire on April 30. He has been on administrative leave since April 6 when council voted to accept the chief’s negoaited retirement.
The city attorney’s office released the final document earlier this week to WRBL under the Georgia Open Records Act.
The final agreement had more details than were available April 6.
According to the separation agreement included in the document, Blackmon will receive $400,000 after Columbus Council approved the amount of April 6.
Here is a breakdown of Police Chief Blackmon’s severance package:
- $185,110 will serve as severance, which is subject to applicable federal and state withholdings and taxes.
- $185,110 in general damages without withholdings.
- $29,790 will be given to Blackmon’s attorneys Buckley, Bala, Wilson, and Mew of Atlanta
- Blackmon will also be able to remain on the city’s health insurance at the employee rate through May 31, 2030.
As part of the settlement, Blackmon must waive his rights to legal action. Additionally, the city also agreed that the mayor and 10 city council members will refrain from making disparaging remarks about Blackmon.
The agreements and payments do not serve as an admission of liability or wrongdoing by the city.
The agreement was signed by both the city and chief on April 11, with Blackmon’s retirement date set for April 30. Blackmon has been on administrative leave since April 6.
Here is what Mayor Skip Henderson had to say regarding the final agreement of Blackmon’s severance package.
“I think we’re both — Chief Blackmon and the city of Columbus — we’re looking to move forward where the council, I think, feels good about the fact that they’re able to help him take care of his family,” said Mayor Henderson. “And, you know, as I said before, I think for a guy that every day for 37 years woke up and the first thing he thinks of every morning is how to how do I help protect the people, this community. I think it’s a good thing for the council to have done.”
Now that Blackmon’s severance package has been finalized the question now is what’s next for the future of the Columbus Police Department. There will be an interim apportioned before a new police chief is hired.
As the Public Safety Director, Mayor Henderson is solely responsible for the appointment of an interim police chief.
“You know, I guess since April 6th, we’ve been in communication with the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police,” Henderson said. “They have a full roster of active, actively employed police chiefs and also retired police chiefs — they’re retired,” said Henderson. “So, they’re guiding us as we go through this process. We have a couple of folks that we are talking to. And obviously, I would have loved to have had it done on April 7th, but it’s taken a little bit more time, a couple of weeks, and we hope to have it wrapped up just within the next few days.”