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Sheriff, solicitor salary supplements return for commission review

Commission will discuss pay, adding holiday for employees

Monday, Feb. 18, 2013 7:15 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 2:14 AM
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Their minimum salaries are set by state law and local legislation, but two newly elected Richmond County officials continue their pursuit of supplemental pay from the Augusta Commission.

Court Clerk Elaine Johnson has requested a pay review.  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
Court Clerk Elaine Johnson has requested a pay review.


Mayor Pro Tem Corey Johnson, who will preside over today’s meeting in Mayor Deke Copenhaver’s absence, said he supports the city’s paying the supplements requested by Sheriff Richard Roundtree and State Court Solicitor Kellie Kenner-McIntyre because of their education levels and certifications, just as commissioners are awarded small pay increases when they complete elected officials’ training.

“We talk all the time about how we can’t retain the best and the brightest if we’re not going to pay them,” Johnson said. “You want the best, you’ve got to pay for it.”

Roundtree requested a salary of $126,500, above the $110,000 minimum for the sheriff, based on his master’s degree, advanced law enforcement training and experience, according to a letter he sent City Administrator Fred Russell in early January.

Kenner-McIntyre, a lawyer who previously worked as a victim’s advocate and social worker in Fulton County, Ga., requested a 10 percent increase to her salary of $97,000, an amount which, like the sheriff’s, was set by local legislation in 2006.

Russell said neither of the requests had been withdrawn Monday, and Commissioner Marion Williams, who returned them to today’s agenda, said the time for each official to request a supplement is now.

“You can’t negotiate until after you get the position,” Williams said.

Individual votes to award the sup­ple­ments failed last week, 5-4, along racial lines. Commissioner Grady Smith, who was out last week, said he’ll be back today.

Until now, only the new sheriff and solicitor had asked for extra pay. Clerk of Superior Court Elaine John­son, however, confirmed Monday that she has requested legislators to examine the salary she is paid under the same 2006 law that set the sheriff’s and solicitor’s pay.

The legislative delegation could raise the sheriff’s and solicitor’s pay in a local bill that addresses the clerk’s salary, but it hasn’t made city officials aware of any intention to do so.

Roundtree’s requested increase would place him in line with retired Sheriff Ronnie Strength, who earned $126,075. As required by state law, Strength’s salary was boosted 5 percent each time he was re-elected.

The supplements would come from the city’s cash-strapped general fund, which already requires a $4 million dip into reserves for the year.
Another item on the agenda is the creation of an additional paid holiday Nov. 11 for Veterans Day, according to Commissioner Bill Lockett, who is pushing for the change.

“For Augusta to be such a military town, it’s ridiculous for us to not celebrate Veterans Day,” he said. “It’s not only for veterans and deceased veterans, it’s for the public, also.”
An agenda item likely to create waves concerns the direction the city should take with Augusta Municipal Golf Course. The commission will reconsider whether to seek a lease or management agreement with two previous bidders who sought to run the course, but Johnson said he hopes the city will instead oversee the management itself and hire a golf pro to operate the course.

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Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 02/18/13 - 08:50 pm
12
1
Internal Memo (a satire)

Dear Deputies,

As your new leader, I recognize the hard work you do, the sacrifices each of you make everyday. We don't need to be reminded that deputies have been killed, shot at and run over all in the course of serving and protecting the public.

That is why I am implementing a new vacation policy: Three additional days off each year to rest, relax and recover from the stresses of the job. Now, these days will not be paid days off. The budget cannot handle that.

Please ignore the media reports. These days off are not furlough days. And, it's just a coincidence, that money saved from these "unpaid vacation" days is strikingly similar to the pay raise I recently "earned."

Again, enjoy your time off! If you need me, I will be getting busy implementing my new outreach program to young, attractive female jail inmates.

Sincerely,
Grateful Mother

GnipGnop
12744
Points
GnipGnop 02/18/13 - 09:31 pm
10
1
Thanks to all you amnesiac voters...

for putting Marion Williams back in office. I am sure you will be grateful for all the things he does for his people to move this city forward. As long as you continue to vote for his ilk you will never move forward...I don't care what countyman posts....

KSL
144117
Points
KSL 02/18/13 - 10:08 pm
9
1
2 good posts.

2 good posts.

my.voice
5178
Points
my.voice 02/18/13 - 10:59 pm
11
1
I think the Sherrif is

I think the Sherrif is probably due a raise. Perhaps we look at it in twelve months to see how he does in his position. If he's cutting the mustard, cut him some green.

KSL
144117
Points
KSL 02/19/13 - 12:31 am
4
2
Good idea.

Good idea.

bumblebeerose
694
Points
bumblebeerose 02/19/13 - 02:25 am
4
1
Pay Raise

I really thought you had to be on most jobs 90 days before a pay raise and then it was based on your performance? I really hope neither of them get re-elected. They have done nothing but shown me all they want is more money and have done nothing to show me that they deserve that money.

I guess my biggest problem with the pay raise is that they both new what the pay was when they ran for office and if they did not like it they should have stayed where they were at. Asking for a raise this soon is not fair to all the county workers who have not had a raise or have been laid off due to budget cuts.

There are a few things I really would like to say to both of them but I have to be nice. So I will do it nicely, go home and stay until you can do the job you were elected to do and stop worrying about money. There are alot of people in the county that do not make what you two make now and have families to feed and they can not get that kind of raise. If you care so much about Richmond County and the people in it let this raise thing stop and be happy with what you have. Remember
"MONEY IS THE ROOT OF A EVIL".

my.voice
5178
Points
my.voice 02/19/13 - 06:48 am
5
0
Actually, THE LOVE OF MONEY

Actually, THE LOVE OF MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL. Money is just a tool.

soapy_725
44121
Points
soapy_725 02/19/13 - 07:24 am
1
0
Now it looks as if the firemen want a raise, too.
Unpublished

Half pay, half job. Could it be that is the problem with all of the government pay recipients? Half job for perceived half pay?

Little Lamb
49138
Points
Little Lamb 02/19/13 - 07:44 am
2
0
Abstain

Now that Grady Smith's attendance record will be improving, there will have to be some strategy regarding abstentions. Should they have a single designated abstainer, or should they take turns abstaining? It might be cool one day for a surprise and all five abstain on the same item.

Of course, today with Mayor Copenhaver not attending the meeting, it would be an interesting twist if everybody votes to create a 5-5 tie, and then there is no mayor to break the tie.

I remember the first mayor of the newly-formed consolidated government. Larry Sconyers became frustrated after a few months because of the split in the commission and the use of abstentions to avoid passing legislation. He complained of the mayor's lack of authority to influence motions on the floor. Then, one day (on a very contentious, racially inflamed motion) the commission handed Sconyers the very first 5-5 tie of the new government. Sconyers demurred, then finally refused to break the tie. The abstention became institutionalized in Augusta government on that day.

Adam Bomb
359
Points
Adam Bomb 02/19/13 - 09:25 am
6
0
Come on Sheriff.

I haven't posted in a long time but your cheeky request for a raise got me fired up. Like so many have said, you have to prove yourself first. Marion Williams in his openly racist manner is on your side as are the other black commissioners. Do you really feel the need to get in with that pack of racist cronies and try and bleed the County dry? We need more Deputies man. People aren't afraid to commit crimes because they know our deputies are spread so thin they will be long gone by the time the deputy gets there. And our Solicitor. A pencil pusher wanting to make over a hundred grand a year? There are people out there that don't make a hundred grand in a life time. Get real people. Spearhead some positive changes then take your case to the voters after you have some time in office.

...point to ponder
779
Points
...point to ponder 02/19/13 - 09:46 am
5
0
no pay raise..this term.

If a pay raise for these folks is needed for the future office holders, so be it.
But, in this case, they each ran for their respective offices KNOWING what the pay schedule was for each. (*If they didn't like the pay offered, they should of stayed put where they came from.)
This is not a case of 'attracting' good people and keeping them...this line of thought is for "hiring" good people.
In an election process, we hope the best and brightest will be running...the outcomes of the elections don't always reflect same.
In the end, no pay raises for those currently in office....nothing retroactive...ONLY for future office holders...its the only fair and equitable way to handle this matter.

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 02/19/13 - 09:55 am
5
0
N-O, NO!

No one knows what the word"No" means anymore! Is it too much to ask someone to prove themself first? And to Mr. Johnson, you do not know you "have the best"... that is yet to be proven. And that State Court Solicitor job, just exactly what does that person do, what are the duties? And how does a victim's advocate and a social worker for Fulton County have the experience needed for the job? Why did she leave her previous government job? Help us out here, how about it?

Riverman1
93864
Points
Riverman1 02/19/13 - 11:12 am
3
0
What About the Constitutional Amendment?

Abstentionism is the term for the form of the city government. That really is a word, I didn't make it up the other day. Shoot, people were getting mad at me for calling it that. Said I was making fun of the county.

But what about the constitutional amendment Freddie Sanders brought up on the raido yesterday? He said he wrote an amendment in the 80's that was passed taking almost all personnel matters out of the hands of the Sheriff of Richmond County. He implied outsiders couldn't be brought in nor personnel changes made without approval of a special authority. I personally think no one will bring it up because it will be such a disruptive process to reverse personnel moves Roundtree has made. I can't believe the Chronicle hasn't ran a story on the matter.

Little Lamb
49138
Points
Little Lamb 02/19/13 - 10:49 am
2
1
Courtesy

Augusta media personnel are courteous and deferential upon breaking news. Whoever reports the story first gets to run with it a while exclusively before it turns into public domain free-for-all.

Riverman1
93864
Points
Riverman1 02/19/13 - 10:57 am
3
2
"Augusta media personnel are

"Augusta media personnel are courteous and deferential upon breaking news."

Well, maybe I shouldn't say anything. Ssssssssssshhhhhhhh. I didn't realize Austin was so courteous that the Chronicle would reciprocate.

Little Lamb
49138
Points
Little Lamb 02/19/13 - 11:48 am
2
0
Ga. Constitution

I didn't hear Freddie Sanders’ entire interview, but I heard a pretty good part of it. He said there was a constitutional amendment to the Ga. Constitution that did not give the Richmond Co. sheriff complete authority to hire, fire, promote or demote. There is supposed to be a "merit system" (to use Sanders’ phrase) and a citizens board can be convened to intervene but only if an existing employee files a complaint or grievance. In the case of the questionable hires, promotions and demotions that Roundtree has done, I predict that his employees will be very timid in filing complaints to trigger the merit system board to intervene on their behalf. The stakes will be high, and if the grievance fails, what comes later will be tough to stomach.

Riverman1
93864
Points
Riverman1 02/19/13 - 12:09 pm
3
0
The content of the

The content of the constitutional amendment is in question. Clayton and others are putting out counter documents, but I have to feel IF there is a valid amendment as Sanders claimed, it will be supreme. I agree someone has to file a grievance, but apparently there are some of those waiting in the wings. This is the strangest matter with confusing codes and documents. Another legal battle for Richmond County could be in the works.

Apparently, there is still an active 5 member board, but, get this, almost none of the deputies know about it. It would be interesting to know what the board believes it can do. Personally, I think it could be a legal Armageddon for Augusta and hope it goes away.

From the Augusta Government site:

Richmond County Sheriff’s Merit System Board
Members
The Richmond County Sheriff’s Merit System Board is composed of five members: Three are appointed by the Augusta-Richmond County Commission
Two are appointed by the Legislative Delegation

Function
The function of the Board is to represent the interest of the public in the improvement of personnel administration as to those matters involving adverse action taken against a Sheriff’s Department employee by the Sheriff or the employee’s supervisors.

Meetings 8:30 am
Second Thursday each month
The Human Resources Department or another designated location

Riverman1
93864
Points
Riverman1 02/19/13 - 12:07 pm
4
1
If this were just Austin and

If this were just Austin and his loose cannon firing at Roundtree once again, I'd smile and be on my way, but this was Freddie Sanders, an attorney who knows the RCSO backwards and forwards, the man who wrote the amendment, explaining the amendment's existence and implications. I have to believe it's serious with real consequences if those affected by the changes start raising Cain.

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 02/19/13 - 12:49 pm
4
0
How many times will the

How many times will the commissioners get to vote on this matter?
And where is the mayor? Working on his tan again?

countyman
21643
Points
countyman 02/19/13 - 01:59 pm
1
4
Ask the citizens

I don't even understand why this is considered a hot topic. I'm sure the majority of residents in the county support a pay increase for the sheriff and deputies.

The mayor of Augusta is attending the conference in Phoenix, because of the new 100 IT jobs downtown(Enterprise Mill). The CEO of Rural Sourcing invited the mayor to speak at the event.

When cities start moving forward others have no choice but to take notice.

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 02/19/13 - 01:57 pm
2
1
uh-huh. I feel like a

uh-huh. I feel like a prophet. I knew you'd show up with it.

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 02/19/13 - 02:41 pm
4
0
countyman, you changed your

countyman, you changed your post!! Not, that I care, mind you, but it's what you are always accusing others of doing on here.

CobaltGeorge
176187
Points
CobaltGeorge 02/19/13 - 02:40 pm
4
1
YES & NO

I'm sure the majority of residents in the county support a pay increase for the sheriff and deputies.

Deputies == Yes

Sheriff == Hell No

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 02/19/13 - 02:43 pm
4
1
What CG said.

What CG said.

justputtin
1527
Points
justputtin 02/19/13 - 07:35 pm
3
0
What a joke

Go back to work. I love how the media has run stories on all the positive things the new sheriff is doing or going to do. Good luck filling Strength's shoes. It wont happen without years of experience in that position. Reminds me of a recent Nobel Peace Prize winner.

nocnoc
49256
Points
nocnoc 02/19/13 - 08:06 pm
0
0
Political blind siding

I downloaded the re-rtree.zip FOIA files from http://www.augustagapolitics.com and read them.
It looks like Sheriff Strength signed off on the Roundtree pay increase on 12-12-12 and the ARC legal eagle K. Bray signed off on it 12-27-12.

But for some reason a certain group of commissioners were not informed until after the 1st vote in Feb 2013, of these facts.

Looks like a sneak attack tactic was deliberately used against certain commissioners.

Cricket Seranade
20
Points
Cricket Seranade 02/19/13 - 09:01 pm
0
0
If I know a job only pays

If I know a job only pays $9/hr and I know I wouldn't be able to pay my mortgage with that, I wouldn't apply for the job. Roundtree knew what the job paid before he 'applied' for it. What right does he have to come in and ask for a raise when he hasn't done anything to earn the salary he currently has? So far the only thing I've seen him do is keep his face on tv!

Little Lamb
49138
Points
Little Lamb 02/19/13 - 11:38 pm
0
0
Down the tubes

Grady Smith sold his vote in order to have his plumbing business gain more and more city business. It's illegal at this time, but he will easily get six votes a couple of weeks from now to change the conflict of interest laws and be able to cash in on city plumbing and HVAC work. Not bad for a codger.

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