Columbia City Employee Retires After 'Inappropriate Behavior' Claims
Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Columbia Senior Assistant City Manager Allison Baker has resigned after allegations of inappropriate behavior were raised against him.
City Manager Teresa Wilson issued a statement confirming that Baker submitted his retirement notice and immediate resignation last Friday.
"An allegation regarding inappropriate behavior involving Baker was officially reported to Human Resources on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 and an internal review and investigation began immediately," Wilson said in a statement. "In light of the investigation, Baker submitted his retirement notice and immediate resignation."
News 19 spoke with Wilson over the phone Wednesday night, and she said she was disappointed to hear the allegations made against Baker, which led to some submissions by him. Wilson said the city immediately went into an internal investigation.
Wilson said she could not initiate any personnel action against Banker because of the abrupt retirement.
"Mr. Baker has always been a public servant and made many contributions to our city, so as a long-time co-worker of mine, it was definitely disappointing. But ultimately, I need to do what's best for our city and what's best to maintain the integrity of the policies I have set," said Wilson.
Baker was with the city of Columbia since 1997. He first started as the director of Parks and Recreation. According to his employee files, he became the assistant city manager in 2004.
Baker is also the pastor at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Columbia.
News 19 asked the city's public relations director why Baker was able to retire instead of being fired amid the allegations. She said because he worked for the city for 20 years, he qualified for retirement, which was an immediate resignation.
In his role, Baker oversaw some of the most important city services, including 911, the fire department, emergency management, parks and recreation, and public works.
Wilson said department heads who formerly reported to Baker will now report directly to the City Manager until further notice.