Assistant Police Chief Henry King was appointed as acting chief by Barber before leaving Dec. 17, according to King.
The city has been paying Barber his full salary since his December departure, Barber said in a phone interview last week.
Cedartown City Manager James Stephens and Commission Chairman Larry Odom confirmed that information Monday.
Barber said that he applied for early retirement in late summer or early fall of last year, and submitted a written request to the city.
Barber said that he was told by city officials that he would be able to retire Dec. 31, but he later found out that was not the case.
When asked why Barber was not working while waiting on his retirement paperwork to be processed, Stephens said that he would defer that answer to Commissioner Odom.
Part of it was that he applied for retirement and we started the process rolling, Odom said. And then just the bureaucracy of it didnt go as fast as we thought and he was out for medical reasons for a while and then we just didnt feel it appropriate to put him back on the job, you know, being kind of a lame duck kind of a guy . just let the assistant chief run the place until his retirement came through. We certainly didnt think it would take this long, but it has.
When the Standard asked which meeting the City Commissioners voted to authorize Barber to stay at home with pay, Odom said that he couldnt remember.
I dont recall. I think that decision was probably made by the city manager and he probably informed the commission, Odom said. I dont remember us taking a vote on it per se or anything like that.
Stephens said that decision was made in the December meeting in an executive session.
Those sessions are held behind closed doors, without the public present.
The fact that the city was running behind on payments to the Georgia Municipal Association mired the retirement process down.
Cedartown is a member of the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) which handles the citys employee benefits such as retirement.
Odom said that the city contributes to the GMA and they, in turn, take care of retirements. We go to them for retirements and they look and see if everything is up to speed and they come back and say yes, he can retire and this is what hell make and so forth and so on and that does take a while.
The Standard asked Odom if the city was behind in its contributions to GMA. Well, we were for awhile, but were no longer behind, Odom said.
When asked if that affected Barbers retirement Odom said, Yes, it did.
He said that he did not know how much the city was behind. But it wasnt a question of the amount, it was the delayed payment, Odom said.
Odom said the city made the necessary payment sometime in January or February, but he was not sure.
When the Standard asked how much the city was behind on GMA payments, Stephens said the city made a contribution of $589,000 to GMA. He said that the city is supposed to make semi-annual contributions of $319,000.
Stephens said that the city was now current on payments to the GMA.
When asked if the money had to be borrowed to make necessary payments to catch up with GMA, Odom said that a Tax Notification Note (TAN) was taken out and some of that money was probably used to pay GMA Im not sure if all of it was or not.
The TAN, Odom explained, is when money is borrowed to operate on until tax revenue starts coming in. In this case, the city borrowed from a local bank at a low interest rate and it will be paid back within the year, Odom said.
Some of the proceeds of this were used to catch up GMA payments, but thats not the only reason the TANs were taken out.
Odom said the TAN money is used to operate on, to pay things like GMA and salaries, and other debts the city owes until the taxes start coming in. Then we pay that back, Odom said. But thats a common practice. Its been done for years.
Stephens said that for the past four years the city has taken out Tax Anticipation Notes.
Odom said that they may have handled the retirement request differently if they had known it would take this long.
Stephens said, Keith could still end up, although he asked for retirement, when the numbers are finalized, he may still opt not to take it. Hell have a 45 day window once GMA sends him figures showing him what hell draw. Hell have a 45-day window to consider that.
Regarding Barbers retirement, Stephens said, There is an amendment being made to our retirement plan to open a window of time for all department heads thats seniority and age combination equals 74 and that process is ongoing.
We anticipate the documents being modified around the last week in March, and that is when we expect the amendment to be completed by GMA.