Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree has announced his media policy.
Here it is, with a little creative editing:
Pow! Hear this, you bunch of sniveling liars! From now on, nobody in the sheriff’s office or connected with the sheriff’s office is going to tell you anything – except for my designated mouthpiece. And he’ll send a FAX when he’s good and ready. Nobody else connected with the sheriff’s office is authorized to speak to you about anything, and we’re not above checking e-mail and cellphone records to see who’s been talking to whom. When we need you to help us catch a criminal by printing his photo in the newspaper, online or on TV, we’ll let you know.
Could this surprising reversal of the previous sheriff’s media policy be the result of negative stories about Roundtree’s record before the election, such as his delinquent taxes and romantic trysts with three female officers on his shift at the Econo Lodge hotel in a room formerly used for a sheriff’s substation?
The situation created such a less-than-convivial workplace environment that his superior asked that Roundtree be reassigned.
In all, he racked up seven disciplinary actions during his tenure with the sheriff’s office, including a suspension and demotion in 2008 for moving and leaving seven murder-case files, one of which was later used to solve the murder of an 84-year-old woman, along with a gun, ammunition and SWAT gear in an apartment.
When that lapse was reported in The Augusta Chronicle, he posted complimentary online comments about himself under the name of Grateful Mother.
No matter that the stories were all true. Payback is hell. Of course, this new policy of If Asked Don’t Tell could be an attempt to quash new stories of Roundtree’s as-yet-unknown sheriffing exploits.
HE’S TOUGH: Super District 10 Augusta Commission member Grady Smith is down but not out.
He is in University Hospital for more treatment of an infected foot caused by diabetes, but rumors that he will be stepping down are not true, he said.
“I’ll be back swinging at a ball bat next week,” he said.
Next week might be a little too soon as he’s scheduled for more surgery, but Smith is one tough guy, and he’ll be back sooner than most people would, no doubt. He had open-heart surgery Aug. 24 and came to the first commission meeting in September. He also went to a called meeting Dec. 27 only a few days after having toes amputated.
“If I can be there,” he said, “I’m going to be there. When I can’t, it will be for a damn good reason.”
WHAT IS REALITY ON THE GROUND? WE HATE THE NAME GRU: The University System of Georgia Board of Regents gave final approval last week to the merger of the former Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities and the school’s much-hated new name, Georgia Regents University.
Since ignoring a national, state and local survey that indicated proposed names with “Augusta” in them received by far the most favorable responses, GRU President Ricardo Azziz now says he’s going on a listening tour. He said he’s found in the past that it just provides an invaluable insight into what’s going on, what’s on people’s minds and “what’s really the reality on the ground.”
DR. ZZZZZ AND THE IMAGINARY LISTENING TOUR: Dr. ZZZZZ, the president of GRU, is conducting a listening tour disguised as Groucho Marx on the pre-GRU campus of ASU. He approaches two students sunning themselves on benches.
“Beautiful day, isn’t it?” he asks.
Both agree it is.
“What do you think of the university’s new name?” he asks.
“GRUish,” the first student replies.
“GRUish? What does that mean?” ZZZZZ asks.
“Cool. You know, like the new president ZZZZZ. He came from California and brought ‘cool’ to a backward town that thought a clunky name like Augusta State University was something to be proud of.”
(Sounds of a demonstration from across campus) “Down with GRU! Up with ASU! Down with GRU! Up with ASU!”
“What do you think of the name GRU?” he asks the other student.
“GRUsome. I mean really GRUsome even with the A, which makes it even worse. GRUAsome is like GRU and then some.”
“But I’m confident that as time passes the people who don’t like GRU and GRUA will forget ASU and MCG.”
(More sounds of demonstrators from across campus) “Down with GRU! Up with ASU! Down with GRU! Up with ASU!”
“Thank you for your input. Here comes the GRU bus. I think I’ll catch it and go back to my office where everybody tells me what I want to hear. I’ve had enough reality on the ground for one day.”
TOGETHER AGAIN: Augusta commissioners were among officials from several county departments to meet with the local legislative delegation last week.
It was the first time commissioners and legislators had met since before lawmakers got involved in the controversy over whether the city administrator had the authority to hire and fire department heads in 2011.
On Tuesday, Georgia Department of Transportation Board member Don Grantham had the elected officials salivating over how much money will be coming into Augusta for transportation projects from a new sales tax over the next 10 years – about half of $800 million, about $5 million of which can be spent on transit. There was even talk of forming a transit authority.
So you voted for a tax to subsidize other people’s rides.
OFF THE SHELF? Commissioners will meet Monday to talk about how to implement a $500,000 disparity study before it expires next year.
Commissioner Marion Williams said the court-ordered study has been sitting on the shelf for four years.
“I’m trying to bring it back up and see what we need to do before it expires,” he said. “Without it, we can’t have a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise.”
Williams also said he will seek to change Administrator Fred Russell’s employment letter, which gives him $100,000 severance pay if he is fired for any reason.
“I’m also going to question the latest raises,” he said, referring to the raises Russell gave some city employees last year. “I want to know what they were making before, who got what, when and how much.”
WHAT’S IN A NAME? EVERYTHING: The correct name of the musicians who provided the music for Roundtree’s inaugural ball is PRESTON & WESTON (and Sandra, who performs with them much of the time). They are Wayne Preston & David Weston & Sandra Simmons and sometimes play at Malibu Jack’s.