Augusta personnel board upholds employee firing

Augusta's personnel board took less than 10 minutes to uphold the termination of former Engineering department accountant Eric Loggins, fired in January for insubordination and workplace violence.

It did not appear to matter to Loggins, however, who left his personnel hearing before the end, accusing the board of having their minds already made up.

"That's why the city's in court," Loggins said. "I watch the news. See you in court."

During today's two-and-a-half hour hearing, Loggins called his lawyer wife to testify, but apparently sought little guidance from her on questioning the city's seven or eight witnesses. All disputed the allegation Loggins had reported to police, that Engineering Director Abie Ladson pushed and injured him Jan. 25 after Loggins tried to complain about a co-worker.

Ladson testified instead that he'd told Loggins to go to human resources with his complaint, but Loggins refused and came repeatedly into his office. Ladson said he never touched Loggins, and only found out later that Loggins showed up at human resources with medication and his arm in a sling.

"I felt uneasy because of the commotion that was going on," said Engineering secretary Jeanette White, who'd called her husband when Loggins said something about "police" before leaving the building. Loggins claimed he'd asked someone to report the incident because his cell phone wasn't working.

Administrative assistant Shelette McCrae instead said she called human resources afterward to advise that Engineering "had an irate employee."

Traffic Engineering Assistant Director Steve Cassell testified he'd heard no commotion, but skipped the monthly regional transportation meeting the next morning because he'd found the female employees sitting outside in a car, afraid.

Rather than question the witnesses, Loggins mainly argued with them, drawing frequent objections from Deputy General Counsel Jody Smitherman.

"Why didn't you file a warrant?" board member Chip Barbee, today elected chair of the personnel board, asked Loggins.

"I spoke with the sheriff myself on the situation," Loggins said. "He told me to wait and see what's going on with the personnel board today."

"Why didn't you call when you got outside the door?" asked board member J.R. Riles, one of just five who made up the quorum deciding Loggins' fate today, after Loggins said he couldn't call from inside due to bad reception.

"I'm done talking - This is a cover up," Loggins said.

"We're not here to represent the city," said Riles, who later made the motion to uphold Loggins' termination. "This board is here to make sure you were treated fairly."

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