ADP chief’s exit followed South Carolina arrest…

Update 2 Feb. 27, 2013: Someone representing Gary Butler contacted footnoted in Feb. 2013 to let us know the charges against him were dropped and ultimately expunged. We contacted the solicitor’s office in Beaufort County, South Carolina, and learned that Butler had indeed gone through a pre-trial intervention program that led to the charges ultimately being dropped; that Butler sought to have the charges expunged and succeeded. Here’s how the pre-trial intervention program was described to us:

“Pre-trial intervention is a diversionary program for first-time offenders that includes community service and a bunch of other programs like counseling, anger management, etc. The specific components are geared toward the charges the person faces. A person being accepted into PTI says nothing about the merits of the initial charge; participants are accepted at the discretion of the prosecutor assigned to the case. At the conclusion, the charges are dismissed and, depending on the specific crime, the person can apply with the state to have the charges expunged.”

Here’s the original post: 

On Wednesday, Sonya footnoted the sudden departure of Automated Data Processing (ADP) Chief Executive Gary C. Butler, effective November 8. While the suddenness seemed a bit unusual to us, ADP cast this as part of a “succession plan previously established,” so we didn’t really question the timing. Today, we learned that he had been arrested on a criminal domestic-violence charge in the days before Butler stepped down.

We got the tip from a reader, who pointed us to a facsimile booking report posted on the website of the Beaufort Tribune, a local newspaper in Beaufort County, South Carolina. We put in calls to ADP (no response yet see below), to the numbers we could find for Butler (also no response yet), and to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s office, which confirmed that the Butler who was arrested also worked for ADP. (The picture on the booking report certainly suggested as much, compared to publicity shots of the ADP executive, but we like to make sure.)

Update: An ADP spokesman called back last night while I was flying back from Chicago, and we weren’t able to connect until this morning. This is the statement the company just sent a few minutes ago:

“On November 8, 2011, Gary Butler informed the ADP Board of Directors of his decision to retire from the Company and resign from the Board for personal reasons. The Board was aware of the circumstances surrounding his decision and immediately implemented its previously established succession plan, under which Carlos Rodriguez would become CEO upon Mr. Butler’s retirement. Out of respect for his privacy, ADP is not commenting further.”

Butler was arrested on November 6 at what appears to be a second home in Bluffton, South Carolina. (ADP is based in New Jersey, and we understand Butler listed a Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, address with police in South Carolina). We were told by the Sheriff’s office that Butler and his wife had argued earlier in the day, and then went out to dinner with friends. That night, after returning home, the argument resumed, according to the police report on file with the Sheriff’s office. “At some point Mr Butler grabbed [his wife] by the neck and by the wrist and pushed her against a bureau in the bedroom, and she fled the residence and called law enforcement,” Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Robin McIntosh told us, citing the police report. She said Butler’s wife didn’t need medical attention, but that officers found signs “of somebody having had their hands on her.”

The Sheriff’s office doesn’t have any record of prior incidents involving Butler. A hearing in General Sessions Court is scheduled for December 16.

The incident may explain the sudden series of events that led up to Butler’s departure. His resignation came on November 8, the day after he was booked; his resignation was announced the next day — cast as a retirement — and his separation agreement was dated November 14 (but retroactive to November 8).

We’ll let you know if we learn more, or hear back from Butler or ADP.

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