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University patrol car picked up Azziz's children from school

Thursday, April 25, 2013 9:07 PM
Last updated Friday, April 26, 2013 12:30 AM
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As the state prepares to conduct an inquiry into the use of college resources by Georgia Regents University’s president for a family wedding, other instances of personal use of school vehicles have come to light.

Georgia Regents University President Ricardo Azziz has called for an independent review of the use of state resources for a family wedding at his home.  SARA CALDWELL/FILE
SARA CALDWELL/FILE
Georgia Regents University President Ricardo Azziz has called for an independent review of the use of state resources for a family wedding at his home.

GRU officials confirmed Thursday that university police cars have been used in the past to pick up President Ricardo Azziz’s children from school. University spokeswoman Christen Carter said patrol cars were used twice to transport the children from Augusta Preparatory Day School in Martinez.

Carter said both cases occurred more than 18 months ago and were “emergent incidents” in which university police were requested by a member of the Azziz family who was unable to pick up the children “due to an unexpected incident which made them unavailable.”

Carter said those were the only such incidents, to her knowledge.

“This is not the normal practice, and the Azziz family realized the potential concerns and have not
repeated the request,” she said.

The Georgia Board of Re­gents’ Office of Internal Audit and Compliance is responding to a request by Azziz on Wednesday for an “impartial assessment” of the issues and actions connected with Saturday’s wedding, which was held for his niece at the president’s home at 920 Milledge Road, known as Twin Gables.

John Millsaps, the spokesman for the Board of Regents, said field work for the assessment will begin next week.

GRU officials have 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.

Millsaps said that the results of the inquiry would be made available to the public once completed but that there was no timeline on how long that might take.

Millsaps could offer no specifics, but it is expected the review will determine whether state resources were used in accordance with GRU and Board of Regents policy.

The use of the shuttle bus appears to be contrary to both.

A university policy memorandum dated Sept. 14 states, “The university should not provide transportation to the President or his family for personal business, including transportation to and from schools, vacations, etc.”

Carter provided an invoice for the shuttle bus and patrol car, billing the groom, Brian Straessle, who is not a university employee.

The invoice also appears to run counter to a Board of Regents policy governing the use of university property. The policy states that university property cannot be “removed from the campus of an institution for use on either a rental or loan basis for personal use.”

The shuttle bus was used to carry guests from the Par­tridge Inn to the wedding, and to a photo shoot at Sa­van­nah Rapids Park in Co­lum­bia County.

Carter said university shuttles have been used before by other administrations for similar activities,
which is why it was offered this time.

“During a discussion with the Azziz family, Public Safety offered the use of a shuttle, remembering the shuttles were also used as a form of transportation at events (i.e. wedding) held at Twin Gables during the administrations of two previous university presidents,” she wrote in an e-mail.

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Riverman1
83724
Points
Riverman1 04/26/13 - 07:04 am
14
0
Truth Matters, well, I'd bet

Truth Matters, well, I'd bet Azziz also uses his work computer to surf the internet, if you want to get into that. Sure many people use their work computers for personal things, but they DON'T have police officers pick up their kids, use state owned buses and drivers and have officers work a family wedding.

nocnoc
42470
Points
nocnoc 04/26/13 - 06:33 am
7
1
The public has seen this way

The public has seen this way toooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo times.

An "internal review" will be nothing more than a slap on the wrist. What we need is a "criminal investigation".

That holds this person to the same standards that every state employee is held concerning misuse of state property, private use of state personnel, misuse/abuse of funds.

Or we can expect to see every state employee terminated or jailed for the same reasons, to sue the state for equal justice, pardons, back pay and then a merit system retirement.

justputtin
1414
Points
justputtin 04/26/13 - 06:37 am
11
0
Chronicle doesn't like azziz you say?

If that's the case the chronicle has a lot of support, just look at these comments. He has given this community plenty of reasons to "not like" him and the hits just keep on coming.

Riverman1
83724
Points
Riverman1 04/26/13 - 06:46 am
14
0
Does anyone remember how much

Does anyone remember how much I took up for Azziz when he first arrived? I supported the merger, also...and still do. One ranter in the rant and raves joked I must be Azziz. It took me awhile, but when the hideous name was announced I was shocked. The cheap shots at ASU blurring out the school name on the championship golf team surprised me even more. Given the statements by the two former presidents of ASU about Azziz and these new revelations about his arrogance, how can one not seek to end his administration?

SON of Scoob
434
Points
SON of Scoob 04/26/13 - 07:42 am
8
0
GRU Gate

It appears the Indians are circling Azzzzzzzz's wagon. This is really entertaining.

seenitB4
86957
Points
seenitB4 04/26/13 - 07:58 am
10
0
Just for truth matters

I am retired--paid my dues..also

Some on here are using break time/lunch time & some own their own company.....they do what they please....& some have a boss who agrees.,, that get the work done & post if you please.....so many ifs--ands-whats......at least THEY are working at a job..

seenitB4
86957
Points
seenitB4 04/26/13 - 08:35 am
7
0
For truth matters

Since you are concerned of anyone misappropriating resources.....take a look at this......
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3e41prVDv4

I doubt she is posting while at work...

nocnoc
42470
Points
nocnoc 04/26/13 - 08:52 am
8
1
Remember we are dealing with

Remember we are dealing with a politicized admin educator.

When I 1st saw "emergent incidents" in the article I figured a typo for the word EMERGENCY. Then I got to thinking for how over top people love to play with words.

e·mer·gent adj.
a. Coming into view or notice,
b. Arising or occurring,
c. Occurring as a consequence,

In short, likely someone in the AZZZZZZ troop forgot, or had a conflicting appointment so they used their version of a Social Panic button and called their private police force to be nanny .

concernmom
403
Points
concernmom 04/26/13 - 09:02 am
9
0
for the "low-info peeps"...Azziz destroyed our heritage.

Apparently some of the folks commenting on this article haven't a clue of what Dr. Azziz has done to the higher education system in our city. MCG and ASU were just fine names. MCG was a world-renowned name, everyone in medicine on the planet Earth knew of the great research, education, dental and medical school offered here. ASU was affiliated with great college golfers & academics. Now we're stuck with GRU??
He destroyed our heritage. He is under a microscope for his thoughtless actions. Now Dr. Azziz must to face his critics & the community at large. He is corrupt and power hungry. Enough is enough, what he did was wrong!!

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 04/26/13 - 09:28 am
7
4
My bet is that ole Azziz is a
Unpublished

My bet is that ole Azziz is a liberal. They feel they are entitled because they are so much smarter than the rest of us. The Marxist/communist in the WH is a good example.

Red Headed Step Child
4054
Points
Red Headed Step Child 04/26/13 - 09:44 am
11
0
I like Austin Rhodes' description of Azziz...

he looks like Eddie Munster.

On another note, I'm surprised Azziz enrolled his kids at Augusta Prep...after all, "Augusta" is in the name, and we know how much he hates that....

triscuit
3084
Points
triscuit 04/26/13 - 09:51 am
7
1
truth that matters...

NOT, that it matters, but the 9:27 post was PM. I worked at MCG for well over 20 years and saw a lot of presidents come an go. So I do know a little something. I really feel for Azziz's kids...must be tough to know everyone hates their parents.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 04/26/13 - 09:57 am
0
0
Y'all
Unpublished

need to investigate those who placed azziz's name in the hat for the job and vetted him. Sounds like collusion, to me.

GiantsAllDay
9580
Points
GiantsAllDay 04/26/13 - 10:00 am
6
0
THIS JUST IN

Dr. Azziz is leading the fight to rename his kids' school "Georgia Regents Prep" (j/k). Anyway, Purple_Blood, re: your 1:40 AM post. This is why shuttlegate needs a Deep Throat. Are you able/willing to step up?

rebellious
20737
Points
rebellious 04/26/13 - 10:10 am
7
0
Azziz

doesn't browse the Internet, he pays people to browse it for him.

This whole Azziz thing reminds me of a little boy rattling a chainlink fence between him and vicious dogs until they froth from the mouth. Then the dogs realize the fence ends and they are free to exact vengeance. Run Ricardo, Run!!!!!

daphne3520
950
Points
daphne3520 04/26/13 - 10:12 am
0
0
So what? In North Augusta there is a "public servant,"
Unpublished

namely a Police Lieutenant that takes his daughter to and from school nearly every day in an unmarked North Augusta detective car. Now, we taxpayers are PAYING for gas, oil, tires, insurance and general wear and tear on this guys Public Service!" NOT permitted "up Nawth!"

rebellious
20737
Points
rebellious 04/26/13 - 10:13 am
6
0
Shirley Strum Kenny

Kinda funny that the picture the Chronicle uses in each article on Azziz is the one of he and Dr. Kenny, writer of scathing letter pointing to Azziz's errors in judgement.

gaptomom
143
Points
gaptomom 04/26/13 - 10:23 am
8
0
Emergency Contact List

In any school that my children attended one of the first things that was asked on the myriad of paperwork was a list of folks to contact in the case of an emergency. Teachers do not leave at the same time as students which should have given the school time to contact someone on the emergency call list to come and provide transportation home for the child and not to put MCG employees into this roll.

Little Lamb
45870
Points
Little Lamb 04/26/13 - 10:28 am
4
0
Facts are stubborn things

Don't try to break apart Ricardo's and Cindy's story with facts, gaptomom.

Little Lamb
45870
Points
Little Lamb 04/26/13 - 10:37 am
4
0
Shuttlebusgate

This is a quote from the bus story a few days ago:

The shuttle bus and the driver were on duty for about 11 hours Saturday at a rate of $36 per hour, university spokeswoman Christen Carter said. She also said there was a $20 charge for the use of a marked police car. Carter said the entire cost for university resources was $416.

What a bargain! Then again, where did the university come up with the rental rates for shuttle buses and police cars? Can one look them up on line? In a university brochure?

You know this shuttlebus did not shut off its engine during those 11 hours. Just think of the global warming this wedding caused.

allhans
23620
Points
allhans 04/26/13 - 10:58 am
4
0
Can't we just dismiss this

Can't we just dismiss this guy? We are not cool enough for his type of leadership.

NrthAugustaSam
473
Points
NrthAugustaSam 04/26/13 - 11:02 am
4
0
Where is that School?

Augusta Prep? Is that in Maine?

Get on the next bus out of town Dr. Kool. We'll even give you a complimentary police escort. Just leave.

dichotomy
32848
Points
dichotomy 04/26/13 - 11:15 am
8
0
"it has happened at times

"it has happened at times with other presidents of MCG"

Don't care. Didn't know about it then, know about this NOW. It was wrong then, it's wrong NOW.

Must be nice to be a king and have your own transportation section and private police/errand running department. I think I'll call RCSO and see if they can pick up a gallon of milk and bring it to the house. I can't go because of an "emergent" situation.

Azziz is an arrogant dictator who is full of himself, and the peons under his absolute power are afraid to tell him NO or are kowtowing to him to garner his favor. Any simple minded citizen knows you cannot use state equipment and personnel for personal purposes and the almighty Azziz and his family knew it too. I've seen Azziz's salary. He can afford to rent a bus and hire a limo or taxi to pick up his kids.

And I don't care if we are learning about this because of "the media scrutinizing their every breath". I wish the media were scrutinizing ALL of our local officials this closely.....including their dealings with the local ruling cabal AND their entanglements with people making real estate transactions, local "non-profits" receiving SPLOST money, and supposed "community" organizations participating in various federal giveaway programs that end up costing local taxpayers money to pay back the feds due to fraud, theft, and mismanagement.

Cynical old woman
1102
Points
Cynical old woman 04/26/13 - 11:44 am
5
0
Emergency help needed

My 10 year old son needs to be picked up from school at 3:30 today. I want to take a nap instead of picking up the child. Can anyone provide me with the shuttle service number for pickup?

been_there
7
Points
been_there 04/26/13 - 12:25 pm
4
0
dichotomy, the salary that

dichotomy, the salary that you see is probably only the college portion of it (open.georgia.gov). Don't forget that he is the head of the hospital part, and I am sure that it's not done for free. I do agree that he should be able to afford to pay for his own transportation needs (last i heard there are still taxi/limo services in Augusta - why not use them???). And don't forget to take into account all the other perks that he gets from the University/hospital.

LocalGirl
317
Points
LocalGirl 04/26/13 - 12:32 pm
6
0
Can we hope...

Can we hope his days in Augusta are numbered? This guy has been trouble from the start.

henrystripe
54
Points
henrystripe 04/26/13 - 02:10 pm
5
0
What happened to avoiding even the APPEARANCE of impropriety?

Azziz may be academically smart, but he is otherwise a big dummy. As hated as he is (and deservedly so), he and his entitled family should be walking on pins and needles to play by the rules. Perhaps similar services have been made available to past presidents, but they were not universally despised. Azziz should be bending over backwards to avoid anything that could even be SLIGHTLY questionable. The Partridge Inn has a shuttle bus that could have been used. After all, it is just AROUND THE CORNER. Or, sober guests could have WALKED back to the hotel. Yes, the more we see of Azziz, the more we see that he just isn't really very bright. He just THINKS he is.

karradur
2854
Points
karradur 04/26/13 - 02:28 pm
0
6
Nobody cared when it happened before...

...because it happened to someone from Augusta who was also white.

karradur
2854
Points
karradur 04/26/13 - 02:34 pm
0
7
...

"It's okay to break the rules if we like you" is not a good argument.

What he did was probably not smart, but there are so many other, more important things to worry about in Augusta. Where was the outrage for previous chancellors? Why didn't we call them Hitler too?

Grace422
239
Points
Grace422 04/26/13 - 02:39 pm
5
1
Just a few issues..

I thought the P.I. was supposed to go on the auction block a couple of weeks ago, but amazingly it was spared that fate for some unknown reason. To be such an highly educated man why would he RSVP his guest at a hotel that was about to fold. I think the GBI was be the best impartial agency to investigate this matter. I guess with the recent tuition increase he will able to cover his personal endeavors. The only folks that are truly making money off of college degrees are the schools. On the news the other night turns out the US tuition rate is 3 times higher than Canada and folks that live close enough are opting to send their kids to Canada for a college education. Kids today are finishing school in debit and ill perpared for the work force. If they get a job. Too bad they don’t teach them that in school.

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