Charlottesville Continues to Pay Former-Chief Thomas $134K Salary
Charlottesville’s former chief of police, Al Thomas, is still on City Hall's payroll. He continues to receive a salary of $134,513.60, even after his abrupt departure in December 2017.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville’s former chief of police is still on City Hall's payroll.
Thomas announced his retirement in December 2017, however he will continue to be paid until July 15, 2019.
The payment is part of a confidential contract settling an employment dispute, which a city spokesperson says, "is not required to be released pursuant to Virginia Code §2.2-3705.1. Chief Thomas did not have an employment contract with the City of Charlottesville."
Thomas was widely criticized for his handling of the controversial rally and the violence connected to it.
Radio show host Rob Schilling made the discovery through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
"I had a tip from somebody to look into this, somebody who was incredulous that this was still going on, and frankly, I had a very difficult time believing it myself. It's been confirmed by the City of Charlottesville. I think what is critical here is that this information has been hidden from the public now for more than nine, 10 months," Schilling said.
City Hall has yet to offer up an explanation about why this information was not included in the original announcement about Thomas' departure.
"It should be of grave concern to taxpayers. I'm wondering where the [City Council] stands on this. Why has no councilor made this public? The mayor or anybody else who knew about this, why they didn't say something? It was information that was deliberately kept from the public," said Schilling.
Several members of Charlottesville City Council have not yet responded to NBC29 for comment on the matter. Councilors Heather Hill and Mike Signer claims they only recently learned of this and were not part of the negotiations.
Signer released the following statement:
"From the beginning, I pushed for accountability for the policing failures that occurred on 8/12, and I was harshly criticized for somehow 'impugning' Al Thomas' reputation. Though I was not involved in the discussions, I was glad when our City Manager and Al Thomas agreed on then-Chief Thomas' departure. I was outraged to learn recently for the first time that this included Thomas' continued employment with the city."
Former-City Manager Maurice Jones - who was also pushed out – reportedly negotiated Thomas' departure terms.
Thomas' attorney Kevin Martingayle says they are unable to comment on the contract details and directed NBC29 to follow-up with City Hall.