Making public records requests is a big part of our job at the Investigations corner of The News & Observer. One of the most routine requests we make is for the salary of a state employee.Typically, a phone call or email gets the answer the same day.
Not so with the former director of the SBI crime lab.
The N&O thought readers might want to know about Richardson's new job and salary. We asked that question of new SBI director Greg McLeod on Aug. 27, the day Richardson was removed. McLeod said the details hadn't been worked out yet. That was reasonable.
On Sept. 2, Tne N&O sent this request to Noelle Talley, Attorney General Roy Cooper’s public affairs director: "What is his new job and title and pay?"
On Sept. 8, Talley answered part of the question: “In his new role, he will work directly with the Case Records Management System and Criminal Information and ID sections.”
On Sept. 9, The N&O replied: “What's Jerry Richardson's salary in the new job?”
Again on Sept. 13: “What is Jerry Richardson's salary?”
And on Sept. 21: “What is Jerry Richardson's current salary and job?"
That elicited the following reply from Cooper’s office the same day: “The last I heard the SBI was working with Human Resources on this issue. I will check to see if that has been resolved.”
The N&O replied that day: “Please send us his salary and title as of today. If it changes in the future when things are resolved, please give us an update at that time.”
The N&O asked again today, Friday Sept. 24. We’ll let you know what we find.
The Department of Justice sent this message late Friday afternoon, that didn't mention Richardson's current salary ($98,481) but does say it will be adjusted in the future:
The Office of State Personnel maintains control over certain positions and therefore, DOJ administration is still working with it to get approval of an appropriate position at a lower pay grade equivalent to the position he held prior to becoming an exempt employee as SBI lab director. Currently he has been reassigned to work with the case records management and Criminal Information and ID sections. The department cannot reduce his salary until this process is complete.