A panel of city employees has upheld the firing of a Columbia Police Department assistant chief who was dismissed in the wake of a botched missing person investigation.
Isa Greene had appealed her dismissal to a city grievance panel in May, but the panel affirmed Chief Randy Scott’s decision to let Greene go.
City Manager Steve Gantt could have reversed the panel’s decision but did not. He said he found nothing in the case that would warrant an overturn.
Greene is taking other steps to fight her dismissal, said Bentz Kirby, her attorney. She has filed an appeal with the S.C. Human Affairs Commission, which investigates discrimination complaints. Those complaints are transferred to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
During her grievance hearing, Greene said she was the scapegoat for a department that was embarrassed over the search for missing hospitality executive Tom Sponseller.
Sponseller had been missing for 10 days in late February before police found his body in a locked room off of the parking garage in the building where he worked. He had shot himself.
The department previously had searched the building three times, and investigators had failed to find a handwritten letter and empty gun packaging in Sponseller’s office desk.
Scott dismissed Greene, and the department’s captain in charge of investigations retired in the wake of the case.
Greene said Scott was looking for someone to blame for the missteps and that she was the target because she was not part of the chief’s handpicked inner-circle.
Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307.