Crime & Courts

Richmond Co. | Columbia Co. | Aiken Co. |

Employee had many arrests

Background check showed recent conviction for meter reader

  • Follow Crime & courts

The city of Augusta meter reader arrested last week and charged with selling crack cocaine along his route had been arrested several times for other crimes before he was hired by the city nearly four years ago.

Troy Curry: City worker had 8 grams of crack cocaine and more than $1,600 in his truck when he was stopped Friday, police say.   Special
Special
Troy Curry: City worker had 8 grams of crack cocaine and more than $1,600 in his truck when he was stopped Friday, police say.


Troy Curry, 46, was hired as a laborer in January 2006, although the city's criminal background check showed he had been convicted in Richmond County Superior Court just 12 months earlier of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and sentenced to three years in prison. That was not his first conviction and prison sentence. From 1996 to 2005, he was convicted in Richmond County courts and given a total of 15 years in prison for drug-related crimes, not counting sentences from other jurisdictions.

A year after being hired as a laborer, Curry transferred to meter reading for the city. Authorities who arrested him last week and found 8 grams of cocaine and more than $1,600 in his possession said they thought he had been selling drugs from his Augusta Utilities truck for several years.

Augusta officials say hiring him was a mistake but contend it's nearly impossible to find workers for low-level, low-paying jobs who don't have some kind of criminal record. Court rulings make it impossible to exclude someone for just having a record unless there's a "nexus," meaning the crime they were convicted of is directly relevant to the job they're seeking, said Augusta Human Resources Director Rod Powell.

An example of a nexus would be someone who has been convicted of stealing money applying for a city job where he would be handling money. Also, after a certain number of years, criminal records become less of a factor in hiring, Powell said.

Current and former Human Resource and utility managers said they do not know how Curry was able to get the job with his record, especially the meter reader's job.

Former Human Resources Employment Manager Moses McCauley, who requested Curry's criminal background check in 2006, said the information is sent to department directors, who sign off on new hires.

"It wouldn't be my ultimate decision unless his criminal act prevented him from being hired in certain areas like law enforcement," McCauley said.

Former Utilities Director Max Hicks, who approved of Curry's initial hiring Dec. 18, 2006, was surprised to hear of his arrest but said he did not see his criminal record.

"Good grief," he said after hearing about the arrest. "I would sign off on any new hires I had to, but I would depend on others to work out the details. But I guess it was me because the buck stops here although they go through the hiring process."

Hicks said if someone applied for a laborer's job and would be working with a crew, he could understand the hire, despite a criminal record, although he would then have called the section supervisor and told him to watch the new worker.

"But putting him into a truck by himself, that's risky," Hicks said. "We've had trouble with people in trucks who didn't have a criminal record. I think some real consideration should have been given before putting him into a truck."

Assistant Utilities Director Clifford "Drew" Goins, who was interim director after Hicks retired at the end of 2007 until December, approved of Curry's hiring as a meter reader May 30, 2008, but said all he knew was that he was hired as a laborer and transferred to meter reader:

"I don't know what this guy's criminal record was. I'm not privy to that information," Goins said.

On his employment application in 2006, Curry checked "yes" after the questions of whether he had ever been arrested, convicted of or pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor or felony, but wrote that the misdemeanor was a "traffic offense" and "2003" for the felony.

On the application in 2008, he wrote "to be discussed at interview" beside the questions.

Curry is being charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, according to Richmond County sheriff's Capt. Scott Peebles.

His bond on the drug charge is $9,550, but he is up for felony parole violation.

As for Curry's status with the city, Powell said that generally, if an employee is arrested and put in jail, he must still get permission to be "off work" and on leave. If he misses three consecutive days of work and does not call in, his office would process a termination of employment based on "abandonment of position" rules.

"If the crime does not relate to their job requirements, e.g., a misdemeanor offense, we may not take any action. If a felony, we would look at it on a case-by case-basis. If it involved some aspect of their job duties and/or occurred on work time, we would take administrative action to discipline them as appropriate, Powell wrote in an e-mail. "Employees always have the option of resignation at any time, even if they have committed an offense that would cause us to take administrative action against them."

Curry's rap sheet

MAY 1986: Simple battery; not prosecuted

JUNE 1990: Forgery, first degree; convicted of three counts in Augusta Judicial Circuit; seven years' probation

SEPTEMBER 1990: Financial card transaction, convicted, felony fraud; one year's probation

OCTOBER 1990: Felony robbery, not prosecuted; Augusta Judicial Circuit

NOVEMBER 1990: Theft by taking; convicted, Richmond County State Court, 12 months' probation

DECEMBER 1990: Theft by taking, Winder Police Department; convicted, two counts, Winder Superior Court; 12 months' probation.

MAY 1991: Possession of tools for commission of crime; theft by taking, criminal trespass; convicted, Atlanta Police Department; convicted, criminal trespass; two counts, sentence unclear

JULY 1991: Criminal trespass, simple battery, possession of drug-related object/equipment; Atlanta Police Department; sentence unclear

MAY 1996: Felony theft by taking; dismissed by District Attorney, Augusta Judicial Circuit

SEPTEMBER 1996: Purchase/possession/controlled substance; convicted, Richmond County State Court; five years' in prison

NOVEMBER 1996: Baldwin Correctional Institution; probation revoked, serve balance of sentence

MARCH 1997: Clyde N. Phillips Correctional Institution; probation revoked, serve balance of sentence

JANUARY 1999: Coastal Correctional Institution, probation revoked, serve balance of sentence

MAY 1998: Misdemeanor battery; sentencing unclear

MAY 2001: Felony parole violation

JULY 2001: Failure to appear; criminal trespass, Fulton County Sheriff's Office; not on docket

SEPTEMBER 2001: Misdemeanor possession of marijuana; convicted, disorderly conduct, Richmond County State Court; 12 months' probation, credit with time served, consecutive with prior sentence

SEPTEMBER 2001: Felony parole violation; continue original order of probation, possession of cocaine

SEPTEMBER 2001: Giving false name to police officer, misdemeanor; convicted, Richmond County State Court, 12 months' probation

FEBRUARY 2002: Purchase/possession/controlled substance; convicted, Richmond County Superior Court, two years in prison

NOVEMBER 2002: Felony parole violation

OCTOBER 2004: Misdemeanor obstruction of officer, convicted, 12 months' probation

DECEMBER 2004: Purchase, possession of controlled substance with intent to distribute; convicted December 2005, Richmond County Superior Court, three years in prison, three years' probation, credit for time served

Source: Augusta Human Resources Department

City policy

Augusta lacks a policy on hiring workers with criminal backgrounds, according to Victoria Biascoechea, city employment manager:

"While Augusta does not have a written policy that speaks to employment of individuals with criminal backgrounds, we do take in account the position they are applying for, the nature of the crime and the length of time since conviction. If the crime does not relate to their job requirements, and a considerable time frame has passed, they can be employed. We do advise against certain hires, however we do not make the final determination. The Director can choose to hire against the advice of Human Resources. With that said, certain convictions can prevent individuals from employment in some departments, e.g. a theft conviction will prevent someone from handling cash (they cannot be bonded), public safety also have different requirements that are set forth in their certifications."

Comments (64) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 08/04/10 - 01:03 am
0
0
Who exactly in city

Who exactly in city government is looking out for us, the taxpayers and citizens? Another PATHETIC example of what is going on locally. And, what is the status of our $25,000.00 stolen from the open safe?

trimmy
29
Points
trimmy 08/04/10 - 03:37 am
0
0
This is not an isolated case.
Unpublished

This is not an isolated case. Our society is probably doomed unless we punish the criminals to the extent they will not do another crime. Whatever it takes! The rap sheet on this guy is ridiculous. I believe this is only the tip of the iceburg. Augusta is becoming a sorry excuse for a town.

charliemanson
1
Points
charliemanson 08/04/10 - 04:16 am
0
0
I bet, Ronnie Strength, just

I bet, Ronnie Strength, just shakes his head, when he sees all the criminals that his dept has arrested working on government jobs, each and every day.

charliemanson
1
Points
charliemanson 08/04/10 - 04:17 am
0
0
ASIS: $25,000 is probably

ASIS: $25,000 is probably pocket change to all the millions that get stolen, I meant misappropriated, every year.

maninthepi
0
Points
maninthepi 08/04/10 - 04:21 am
0
0
it seems like all the people

it seems like all the people that are suposed to be in charge are claiming
they didn't know about his criminal record and it was somebody elses
fault and responsibility. i think somebody needs to do a responsibility
test on all in management positions and make them responsible for
there actions. sounds like maybe the good ole boy system might be in
play there.

Timco1949
0
Points
Timco1949 08/04/10 - 04:54 am
0
0
With all those convictions

With all those convictions the Democrats of Augusta are now probaly after him to run for Mayor beiong he is so well qualified

slickrayder
33
Points
slickrayder 08/04/10 - 05:11 am
0
0
this case is a sad case .

this case is a sad case . everyone is right. but let me say one thing , what about that person who say 10 ,15 yrs ago made a mistake and got arrested and did prison time ,did his parole,and went through the troubles of finding a good job. now he finnally found one with the city gov, and is a great employee. has had no dealling with the law since, at some point society has to give these kind of people a chance . dont hold us to the same standards as these sorry a** people like this one... thank u for ur time

reader54
314
Points
reader54 08/04/10 - 05:26 am
0
0
If you don't want ex-cons to

If you don't want ex-cons to get a job, what's the solution? The criminal justice system failed in this case more so than anything else.

bettyboop
7
Points
bettyboop 08/04/10 - 05:41 am
0
0
This jerk is not an

This jerk is not an EX-con...he's a career criminal..............

microprill
2
Points
microprill 08/04/10 - 06:09 am
0
0
sad.....

sad.....

momster59
0
Points
momster59 08/04/10 - 06:07 am
0
0
johnston - no one is falling

johnston - no one is falling for your race-baiting statements, so you can stop now.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 08/04/10 - 06:12 am
0
0
momster, no one is

momster, no one is disagreeing and telling the truth either. (these two acts can't be preformed simultaneously.)

Junket831
0
Points
Junket831 08/04/10 - 06:22 am
0
0
Excellent point Betty. I hope

Excellent point Betty. I hope Joe Bowles and others on the Commission correct this immediately. In other states this individual would be doing 25 to life for the 3 strikes rule.

HR needs to review the background on all current employees and bring to light their criminal past. Their HR files and managers should be alerted to this background. If they've been keeping their nose clean and doing good work fine. But if their behavior is suspect then management can keep a much closer watch on these individuals.

The problem the bleeding hearts don't get is that working for the government gives the criminal access and some air of legitimacy. Being a meter reader may seem harmless but it gives this guy a chance to case the neighborhood, meet his "customers" and avoid detection.

So, new rule: Criminal past (without full pardon) NO employment with a government agency OR contractor.

Dixieman
16595
Points
Dixieman 08/04/10 - 06:24 am
0
0
Obama voter...

Obama voter...

cparker
83
Points
cparker 08/04/10 - 06:31 am
0
0
Junket831... The former HR

Junket831... The former HR manager did make an excellent point. Its going to be difficult to hire someone to shovel septic waste for minimum wage without giving some of them a past on criminal history. It's not like there is a long list of employment candidates willing to work in 100 degree heat digging poop for minimum wages. The ball got dropped when he transferred and was given a truck to parade around unsupervised. Just looking at his history, he difinitely should never had been hired for any position.

lifelongresidient
0
Points
lifelongresidient 08/04/10 - 06:38 am
0
0
well ladies and gentleman,

well ladies and gentleman, this shows our wonderful "revloving door" justice system. on one hand "catch-em" then on the other hand a nice slap on the wrist a swat on the butt then out back into society you go...whatever happened to "locking them up and throwing away the key?", to all those who say "there isn't enuff prison space", i say since we are going to spend the tax dollars any way (on the need for more police protection, probation parole services and the negative impact crime effects society as a whole, useless wasteful rehabilitation programs in and ourt of prison) BUILD MORE AND BIGGER PRISONS...this way at least building and staffing these prison will create decent jobs...in the case of augusta and it's lack of any real effort to bring in any heavey industry or meaningful decent paying jobs a nice 50,000 bed maximum security prison located in the industrial park should create a decent number of jobs, the benefit would be then criminals who are caught committing crimes in augusta could be locked up until they no longer pose a threat to society (approx 50-75 yrs) or until they are dead...which ever comes first

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 08/04/10 - 06:41 am
0
0
cparker, it's a fact of the

cparker, it's a fact of the hiring practices for the city in "low level" hiring. I wish it wasn't, but in a subsidy city it seems to be the natural way of things. My pointing out the practice isn't racist. I'm not assigning right or wrong to the practice, it just plays out that way. I've witnessed more than a dozen non-criminals trying to break through the hiring wall by applying for low level jobs. They all failed the primary test.

dani
12
Points
dani 08/04/10 - 07:30 am
0
0
No need to spell it out for

No need to spell it out for us...we get it.
Rules do not apply.
(I'll bet if you advertised for a meter reader you would have hundreds waiting in line, and most would not be criminals.)

BULLDOGM-H
0
Points
BULLDOGM-H 08/04/10 - 07:32 am
0
0
What I don't understand is

What I don't understand is they quoted the criminal background will only apply to the position they are applying for. Well if he had been convicted on numerous counts of possession with intent to distribute do you really think it was a good idea to give him a government truck to go out unsupervised to work in? I mean come on people. The citizens of Augusta should be outraged by this autrocity. Think of the amount of money that your tax dollars paid in gas and maintenance on this guys drug mobile!!! He was getting paid by the city for reading meters while selling his drugs and it not costing him a dime....

dani
12
Points
dani 08/04/10 - 07:40 am
0
0
So, how is this consolidated

So, how is this consolidated government thing working for you.

justus4
111
Points
justus4 08/04/10 - 07:44 am
0
0
This is old news, but offers
Unpublished

This is old news, but offers an opportunity to exploit the facts to meet a particular template of social perceptions. U think this don't happen at that bomb plant, or the local military installation or at any job? If U say "no" your grasp of the facts are poor, and a "yes" means, well again, old news that being recycled for a desired affect.

dani
12
Points
dani 08/04/10 - 07:58 am
0
0
Screaming race is losing

Screaming race is losing steam. The word has been overused by the lefties and is becoming just another word. In a short while in the future no one at all will hear.

Brad Owens
4859
Points
Brad Owens 08/04/10 - 08:08 am
0
0
WOW! That is all I can

WOW! That is all I can say..

Brad

grinder48
2039
Points
grinder48 08/04/10 - 08:12 am
0
0
I wish it weren't true but
Unpublished

I wish it weren't true but I'm afraid what johnston.cliff wrote in his original post was correct. I personally know several good young folks with no criminal records who applied repeatedly for these types of positions and were never able to land one. One can't help but wonder why ...

fred1
0
Points
fred1 08/04/10 - 08:16 am
0
0
I worry about my job every

I worry about my job every day and wonder if I were laid off would I be able to find one. I don't have a criminal record. I fee l better about finding a job but not about the trash I would be working with.

Richmnd Cty Votr
1
Points
Richmnd Cty Votr 08/04/10 - 08:32 am
0
0
Assistant Utilities Director

Assistant Utilities Director Clifford "Drew" Goins, who was interim director after Hicks retired at the end of 2007 until December, approved of Curry's hiring as a meter reader May 30, 2008, but said all he knew was that he was hired as a laborer and transferred to meter reader:

"I don't know what this guy's criminal record was. I'm not privy to that information," Goins said.

Not privy? The whole USA is privy to the GA DEPT. of CORRECTIONS list! and SEX OFFENDER LIST. I guess its down to DON'T ASK and DON'T TELL policy!

montega12
0
Points
montega12 08/04/10 - 09:01 am
0
0
cp parker i see you dont read

cp parker i see you dont read he was a METER READER he rides around in an air conditioned truck ALL DAY and gets out to read a meter he isnt digging septic tanks...funny... years ago i would have taken any job with the county but due to a 8 year old dui i could not be hired so please turn off your computer

montega12
0
Points
montega12 08/04/10 - 09:06 am
0
0
and they will never build a

and they will never build a bigger jail to hire more people when they have that ga money train PROBATION i read a story where a guy spent more time in the jail for a probation violation then any violent assault perp...as long as the state makes money hand over fist with these PRIVATE probation companies you can forget keeping em locked up too much money to be made...thats why ga has more people on probation thanb any other state in the nation with twice the population

AWyld1
3
Points
AWyld1 08/04/10 - 09:18 am
0
0
Well countyman...come tell us

Well countyman...come tell us how great Augusta is....

cparker
83
Points
cparker 08/04/10 - 09:23 am
0
0
montega12.... I read

montega12.... I read perfectly. The article states he was initially hired as a laborer and transferred to meter reader.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs