|After Two Days as Retiree,
Assistant Chief Back: Retiree Bennett Agrees to Return
July 9, 2003
RICHMOND - Those who lauded retired assistant Police Chief Charles Bennett at Tuesday's City Council meeting won't really miss him much.
Bennett, after all, isn't going anywhere.
"They asked me if I'd be willing to stay, and I said yes," Bennett said.
The 23-year department veteran, who formally retired Monday, will continue as assistant chief at least through the end of the year. Bennett and the city have agreed in principle to a deal to keep him in the position, drawing roughly the same pay while collecting retirement.
The six-month arrangement has not been formalized, human resources director Cedric Williams said, because the city remains undecided on whether to classify Bennett as a contract or temporary employee.
The detail has to do with bookkeeping and will not materially affect the job, Williams said. In either case, Bennett would remain a sworn officer.
Bennett, 54, announced his retirement last week, saying work was no longer profitable because of the size of his retirement benefit after 30 years as a police officer. He was promoted to assistant chief in April 2002.
"You'll be very happy to hear that (Bennett) has agreed to stay on, on a contract basis, during the transition period to help us out," City Manager Isiah Turner told the council at Tuesday's meeting.
Bennett is a main architect of the Richmond Police Department's latest community policing program and a negotiator in contract talks with the Richmond Police Officers Association. The city sought his continued services because of these and other unfinished business, he said.
Bennett began his career in 1973 at the San Pablo Police Department. He moved to Richmond in 1980. He was promoted to sergeant in 1993, a lieutenant in 1994 and a captain in 2000.
The state Public Employee Retirement System allows Bennett to both collect his benefits and work approximately six months of the calendar year on a contract basis, Williams said.
Bennett retired with an annual salary of about $146,500.
City officials effusively praised Bennett at the council meeting, where he received a proclamation congratulating him on retirement. He drew two lengthy standing ovations from the audience.
"He's been the one person I could confide in during some of these trying times," Police Chief Joseph Samuels Jr. said. "All the things he's done have succeeded in decreasing costs, raising revenues, and increasing response to the community. He is honest, ethical and trustworthy."
Said Bennett: "I never thought I'd get here. I give my honor and glory to God. I give my thanks to the chief, from one Christian to another. And I want to thank my greatest supporter, my wife of 34 years."
Said Councilman Tom Butt: "I don't know about all the glowing puffery ... but I do know he is the most responsible person in this department. He calls me back, he calls me back promptly, and that makes my job a lot easier. I appreciate it."
Staff writer Rebecca Rosen Lum contributed to this article. Reach Karl Fischer at 510-262-2728 or firstname.lastname@example.org.