City plans to offer police chief position this week

Sunday, February 15, 2009 | 4:26 p.m. CST; updated 6:17 p.m. CST, Sunday, February 15, 2009

COLUMBIA — If all goes according to plan, one of two finalists — either Police Major of Kansas City Christine Laughlin or Police Chief of Haltom City Kenneth Burton — will be offered the job of Columbia Police Chief this week. One of the final issues of concern is the next chief's compensation package.

An executive summary on the City Council agenda for Monday's meeting includes a request from City Manager Bill Watkins that an alternative retirement plan be created for the new chief.

In the executive summary, Watkins suggested that the city take the same percentage of money currently going into the police pension system for the chief and pay it into a different pension plan such as a deferred compensation plan or IRA.

Under the current police pension system, an officer must serve 20 years before being eligible for a full pension.

Laughlin has put in 25 years in Kansas City and is eligible to retire within that system, making her eligible for a full pension. The year requirement is different in Texas, but Burton has also retired within the Texas system, Watkins said.

If the council does not approve of the alternative plan for a pension, Watkins said he will still make the offer.

“If it were me (and the plan wasn’t approved) I would still take the job, but the salary would be a little higher,”  he said.

According to the executive summary, the salary requested by both finalists is between $120,000 and $130,000.

Former Police Chief Randy Boehm, who retired in July 2008, earned $100,000. Also included in the requested compensation package is initial leave availability, standard moving allowance and a standard benefits package.

Both candidates previously expressed their eagerness to work in Columbia.

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Charles Dudley Jr February 15, 2009 | 5:07 p.m.

Let's all pray that Police Major of Kansas City Christine Laughlin gets this position as her over all record is the cleanest and she has the big city experience this city so much needs to get these crime problems under control.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand February 15, 2009 | 9:36 p.m.

I would be more impressed if she came from a city that has gotten crime under control. KCMO definitely has not.

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