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Police Chief Ken Miller Retires

 

JOHN HAMMER

July 3, 2014

Greensboro Police Chief Ken Miller announced his retirement today, with some odd conditions.  Miller said he would retire between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31.  He has been chief since Sept. 2010.

 

What wasn’t part of the announcement is that Miller is reportedly on the short list for the police chief job in Greenville, South Carolina.  The announcement of the two finalists in Greenville will be on Monday, July 7, so, since Friday is a holiday, Miller waited as long as he could before making the announcement that he was leaving.  And it would make sense that the date is uncertain because he doesn’t know if will get the Greenville job.

 

The idea that Miller was going to stay on as chief with his bags packed ready to take a job somewhere else didn’t sit well with Mayor Nancy Vaughan, who called the “floating date” for his retirement “somewhat unusual.”

 

She said, “The chief’s idea is that he will stay on to the end unless he gets a better offer.  It makes us feel like the girlfriend whose being thrown over.”

 

Vaughan also said that since the chief is leaving she thought it was fair to ask him to stop making significant policy changes and promotions to allow the new chief, whoever it is, some freedom to operate on his or her own.

 

Before he came to work as chief here, Miller had the city stop a promotion of captains that was in progress, so he should understand if some of his powers are curtailed during his final months as chief.

 

What makes this even more unusual is that Miller got a huge raise last fall.  When Miller was hired in September 2010, his salary was $138,000 a year.  Leaving four years later, his salary is $180,000, so Miller certainly isn’t leaving because he wasn’t getting raises.

 

Last year while Denise Roth was still city manager, Miller more or less threatened to leave if he didn’t get a $27,000-a-year raise.  So Roth gave Miller the raise and he didn’t retire.  The issue has something to do with the state retirement system, where once Miller retired he would get a $38,500 separation allowance and he stood to lose that money if he didn’t retire.

 

But for whatever reason a $27,000 increase, raising the salary of the police chief to the third highest in the city – just below the coliseum manager and the city manager – is a significant achievement.

 

But you would think that a $27,000 raise would buy Greensboro more than eights months of employment.  Before he got the raise last fall Miller was shopping his resume around, and it was known by councilmembers that he has been shopping his resume around again.  However, at least some councilmembers had not been told that Miller was on the short list for the job in Greenville.

 

Greensboro will begin the process of looking for a new police chief and will also have to consider naming an acting chief, probably depending on whether or not Miller gets the job in Greenville.

 

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