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Azziz seeks independent review of use of GRU resources at family wedding

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 3:36 PM
Last updated Thursday, April 25, 2013 1:37 AM
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Georgia Regents University President Ricardo Azziz has asked the state university system to conduct an independent review of the use of state resources for a family wedding held at his home.

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Ricardo Azziz said the patrol car and shuttle bus cost $416.  SARA CALDWELL/FILE
SARA CALDWELL/FILE
Ricardo Azziz said the patrol car and shuttle bus cost $416.

Azziz asked University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby for an “impartial assessment” of the issues and actions connected with the Saturday wedding, which was held for his niece at the president’s home at 920 Milledge Road.

“Due to the questions raised around use of university resources in conjunction with a wedding held at the University President’s Home, I have requested an impartial review by the University System of Georgia,” Azziz said in a prepared statement released late Wednesday. “My team and I will make every effort to support the System in their assessment.”

It was unclear Wednesday how such a review will be conducted.

John Millsaps, the spokesman for the university system, did not return calls Tuesday and Wednesday seeking comment about the situation.

The call for a review comes after a Tuesday story in The Augusta Chronicle about the wedding. University officials acknowledged the use of state resources at the event and said the Azziz family planned to reimburse the state $416 for the use of a marked patrol car and a university system shuttle bus to ferry guests from the hotel to the event and to other locations. Four GRU police officers also worked as security for the wedding.

University spokeswoman Christen Carter said she was originally told the police officers volunteered their time at the wedding, which amounted to a combined total of 20 hours off-the-clock work.

In response to questions about whether the officers should have been paid, Carter said she was informed Wednesday that the four state employees – GRU Police Chief Bill McBride, Maj. Eugene Maxwell, Lt. Derik Still and Officer Peter Barbara – were paid in cash by the bride and groom.

Later it was determined that Barbara – a nonexempt employee who is paid by the hour – should have been paid through the university payroll system, and the matter was corrected, Carter said.

McBride said he wasn’t aware that Barbara wasn’t eligible to work off the clock at the event. He said after he was informed about the pay situation, he arranged to have Barbara paid by his normal hourly rate, plus any overtime he was owed for the 5.75 hours he worked at the wedding.

Carter said the other three officers are salaried employees and exempt from overtime rules for such events.

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my.voice
4824
Points
my.voice 04/25/13 - 08:31 am
14
0
Every sentence in this

Every sentence in this article regarding "intent" to pay back should be preceded by the following:

"after an inquiry by The Augusta Chronicle"

2012 - SAVE THE A
2013 - SEND THE A PACKING

csrareader
1287
Points
csrareader 04/24/13 - 03:55 pm
13
3
Ricardo Aziz should pack up

Ricardo Aziz should pack up his belongings and just leave. He has zero credibility and just needs to leave with whatever dignity he can muster. He has damaged the City of Augusta, two great institutions of higher learning, and his personal reputation. Leave now, please.

grinder48
1957
Points
grinder48 04/24/13 - 04:19 pm
1
0
Can I Do This?
Unpublished

I'm going to throw a party at my house. Can I use GRU bus and patrol car and officers and pay back GRU for the cost? Or is it limited to only GRU personnel (e.g., secretaries, grounds keepers, maintenance folks, etc.) Or is that only OK for Aziz?

Riverman1
84065
Points
Riverman1 04/24/13 - 04:26 pm
12
2
Cover-up

Remember when I said watching them scramble with the cover-up would be fun. This could also be their downfall before it's over.

kiwiinamerica
942
Points
kiwiinamerica 04/24/13 - 05:03 pm
1
0
Good deal
Unpublished

$416 seems like a pretty good deal for a bus and a patrol car.

I'm organizing a large social gathering in a couple of weeks. Can I hire the above mentioned for a similar price and where do I go to secure the deal?

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 04/24/13 - 05:09 pm
1
0
Someone
Unpublished

needs to return to Los Angeles or Mexico.

rebellious
20780
Points
rebellious 04/24/13 - 06:14 pm
8
2
Definition

Of audacity. And arrogance. And a gross underestimation of the damage he has done in this community. He shouldn't even burp in public for fear of some ancient blue law he can be prosecuted under.

walrus4ever
354
Points
walrus4ever 04/24/13 - 06:24 pm
5
3
The way to have handled this,

The way to have handled this, before the inquiry, might have been a donation to Childrens Hospital or some other worthy entity. That would have been a class act if the doctor had made it in excess of the expenses and made in the name of the newlyweds. At least they would have been spared the embarassment of having their identity dragged into this.

Riverman1
84065
Points
Riverman1 04/24/13 - 07:21 pm
8
2
Beginning to Dissect All This

"In response to questions about whether the officers should have been paid, Carter said she was informed Wednesday that the four state employees – GRU Police Chief Bill McBride, Maj. Eugene Maxwell, Lt. Derik Still and Officer Peter Barbara – were paid in cash by the bride and groom."

As we begin to dissect all this, I wonder if the bride and groom both held the cash money as it was given to the officers or was it actually placed in their hands by someone else...and who was that and when did the payment occur?

Gage Creed
17246
Points
Gage Creed 04/24/13 - 09:36 pm
5
2
You know...if there had been

You know...if there had been a commitment on the Mill Campus proposal this debacle would have probably never seen the light of day...hhhhmmmmmm

fatboyhog
1944
Points
fatboyhog 04/24/13 - 07:40 pm
12
0
What a joke...

I figure that this "impartial review" will result in a waste of several thousands of taxpayer dollars and a written reprimand. I mean after all, the rules weren't real clear, Azziz did pay the university back, and he did ask for the aforementioned independent review. Since he was so willing to call for, and cooperate with, the inquiry, he'll get a slap on the wrist, a wink, and a pat on the back. Then, since he was so honest and wanted to make things right, they'll probably name a building after him and there will be a state proclamation honoring him for being such a stand up guy.

gargoyle
17129
Points
gargoyle 04/24/13 - 07:45 pm
7
0
H Huckabee , a impartial

H Huckabee , a impartial review, The best laugh I've had in a while..

Sweet son
10406
Points
Sweet son 04/24/13 - 07:54 pm
8
2
Sounds like Uncle Ricky is feeling the heat!

Wonder if he has any other "special" relationships with the Public Safety guys?

Riverman1
84065
Points
Riverman1 04/24/13 - 08:31 pm
7
2
No Review, But A Legal Investigation.

Let's tell Azziz, nope, we would rather have an official investigation and questioning done with legal consequences. Slick of him to suggest something different than an investigation by legal authorities. I'd start the questioning with the officers with my above question of who actually laid the cash in their hands and when it was done. As SweetSon is getting at, other things will surface. I know exactly what he is referring to.

nocnoc
42680
Points
nocnoc 04/24/13 - 08:31 pm
11
2
OH YEAH !

Georgia Regents monitoring Georgia Regents .

NOT!.

Time for a criminal probe.

Riverman1
84065
Points
Riverman1 04/24/13 - 08:40 pm
6
2
Tumbling Now

Dr. Azziz, remember when you were in med school at Hershey, sitting in those big comfortable black leather chairs and looking out the big library window at the mountain? In the winter skiers would beautifully sail down the snow covered trails, but every once in a while one would fall and tumble. You just came tumbling down the hill and busted right through the library window, slid through the underground tunnel to the research farm and ended up in the cow waste products.

r
400
Points
r 04/24/13 - 08:45 pm
9
1
Shuttle service

Who has ever found a shuttle service, police service car and bus for that many hours for 416.00 Really dose this man think we are stupid!!!!

KSL
129758
Points
KSL 04/24/13 - 08:53 pm
3
3
All set to send this mess to

All set to send this mess to my BOR growing up neighbor and guess what, he's not on the BOR any more. But he is still in my cell phone and he knows other Regents.

gargoyle
17129
Points
gargoyle 04/24/13 - 09:02 pm
5
2
If he thinks he can get away

If he thinks he can get away with puting a weding on the public tab it might be time to do a audit of all his discretionary spending including charity monies he has access to

Dixieman
14954
Points
Dixieman 04/24/13 - 09:13 pm
5
3
Dumb Move

Correct Move: "Sorry if there were any misunderstandings. I am today making a $5,000 donation to GRU which is more than five times the highest estimate of the amount involved." That puts an immediate end to it. Need new PR consultant.

nocnoc
42680
Points
nocnoc 04/24/13 - 09:24 pm
8
1
TELL YOU WHAT President

TELL YOU WHAT President AZZZZZZ

Change the name to:
University of AUGUSTA
a member of the GRU system

and we'll talk allowing you to quit without criminal prosecution.

KSL
129758
Points
KSL 04/24/13 - 09:38 pm
4
2
r

Evidently he has found eastern Georgians and western South Carolinians stupid from his getgo. Underestimation is never wise.

KSL
129758
Points
KSL 04/24/13 - 09:39 pm
3
2
Dixieman

Too funny.

SemperParatus
3225
Points
SemperParatus 04/24/13 - 11:14 pm
6
0
Let's share these thoughts with...

...Nathan Deal. Deal is going to need us Augustans if he is to be re-elected governor. Enough is enough. We the people are not getting through to Ricardo Azziz. He knows no shame. To heck with asking the board of Regents to investigate Azziz. Let's ask our governor to direct the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to take a look at the matter. http://gov.georgia.gov/webform/contact-governor-domestic-form

Purple_Blood
38
Points
Purple_Blood 04/25/13 - 12:30 am
7
0
It's not Public Safety that's the problem

They are following directives sent to them from their bosses. Remember, these guys are police officers. They attend the police academy just like any other officer in the state of Georgia and receive more training per year than a Richmond County deputy. Each of them is highly qualified and very good at what he/she does. Azziz chooses to use them as his personal valet service, expecting them to be at his beck and call. Yes, each university campus has a driver to take him to the airport, etc. Azziz has taken it a bit further. Just last week before a picking him up to go to the airport, Azziz's personal driver had to first stop by his house to pick up his suitcase and WAIT while the Mrs. packed said suitcase. On the state's dime mind you. At least one of those officers, and not the one you would think, DID NOT volunteer to be and that wedding, and none of them was paid, by the bride and groom or anyone else.

showboat
336
Points
showboat 04/24/13 - 11:58 pm
1
0
THIS INVESTIGATION SHOULD
Unpublished

THIS INVESTIGATION SHOULD LEAD TO THE FIREING OF Azziz by the Board of Regents ASP.!!!!!!

Darby
25694
Points
Darby 04/25/13 - 12:11 am
8
1
“My team and I will make

every effort to support the System in their assessment.”

.
Unless we don't agree with said assessment.

prov227
3157
Points
prov227 04/25/13 - 12:47 am
6
1
"Because people have got to know ...

their president is not a crook". - R. Nixon

jmo
16016
Points
jmo 04/25/13 - 05:08 am
9
0
Kudos to.......

whoever brought this situation to light and to the Chronicle for following it up. Keep up the good work. Make his life miserable and maybe, just maybe, he will leave.

csrareader
1287
Points
csrareader 04/25/13 - 06:27 am
8
1
Oh yeah, let's have his Board

Oh yeah, let's have his Board of Regents pals conduct a "review." I'm sure that will be impartial. Mr. Azziz, just leave now for the sake of your reputation, and the two institutions that you have damaged through your arrogance.

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