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Former Augusta employee alleges discrimination

57-year-old lost job through city reorganization

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Every city employee's nightmare came true March 11 for Richmond County motor vehicle director Nancy Mims.

Nancy Mims: Former motor vehicles director is awaiting an answer from the Equal Employment Opportunity Office.   Special
Special
Nancy Mims: Former motor vehicles director is awaiting an answer from the Equal Employment Opportunity Office.

She had learned a few months earlier from Tax Commissioner Steven Kendrick that his department was headed for a reorganization, as many city departments were, and that positions were likely to be eliminated.

When the time arrived, though, Mims was shocked to learn she was the only one let go. She was even more surprised when, during a round of promotions associated with the reorganization, her younger successor, Takiyah Douse, was given a hefty raise.

Mims has since filed a complaint alleging age and race discrimination with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Office and is awaiting an answer that might determine her next move, she said. She is white; Kendrick is black.

"Mrs. Douse is now making right at $68,000; I left making $59,000," Mims said.

That is true, according to a recent study of Augusta salary data revealing that nearly all employees are enduring a second year of unfilled vacancies, furlough-based pay reductions and raise freezes in addition to the reorganization that has prompted many to retire.

Though a handful of sheriff's office, recreation and utilities employees have been promoted into vacant positions and given raises, Kendrick's staff of 44 saw seven promoted from March to July; the largest raise went to administrative assistant Sharon Kendrick, whose promotion to financial analyst carried $15,000-plus.

Mims said she had been given an opportunity to interview for a new director's position that seemed tailor-made for Douse, who has an MBA, but was offered no other alternatives.

"(Steven Kendrick) could have put me in the back somewhere," she said. "I'm 57 years old. At this stage in my life, it's hard to find another job."

First elected in 2009, Kendrick has another version of events he said stem from his inheritance of a dysfunctionally structured department.

By studying tax commission offices of similar size around the state, Kendrick said, he determined that his needed three "directors," the equivalent of department heads, and made Douse the motor vehicle director. The others are property tax director Sharon Kendrick, who married a cousin of Steven Kendrick, and new finance director Ryan Barbin, who saw an $8,000 salary bump.

Unlike Mims, Kendrick said, the three directors have college degrees.

"The city has a requirement that (those) at the director level have college degrees," he said.

Total salaries paid through his office haven't gone down, but Kendrick said the new structure has increased tax collections.

"We can show where there's savings," he said. "We improved our mobile home collections, too."

Other improvements include a Douse initiative to enforce the law against people who let their vehicle registration lapse and avoid paying car taxes, he said.

"I inherited a lot of things that needed to be worked on," he said. "I had to have good, aggressive, assertive people."

City Administrator Fred Russell, the architect of the reorganization, which has struck fear among departments under his or the Augusta Commission's control, said Kendrick was the only department headed by an elected official he knew to have laid off a worker. Mims was provided the same reduction-in-force agreement other downsized workers have received; she did not sign it.

Mims' feelings echo the concerns that Augusta Commission member Bill Lockett, who opposes the reorganization, has raised about longtime employees being put out of work without having an opportunity to transfer.

Mims said being unemployed is tough on her, because she now relies on her grown son for financial support since she's three years short of receiving full payment from the retirement plan she paid into for many years.

"I'm here living off my son now; it just boils me," she said. "It's not like I was at retirement age and just hanging on; I was actually an active worker."

Comments (64) Add comment
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Sweet son
10807
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Sweet son 08/06/11 - 01:27 pm
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This lady does not deserve to

This lady does not deserve to be put out just because of a college degree. I can get one online just by sending the money!!!! You might not recognize the school but I can get a degree!! Thanks to Mr. Lockett for his support in this situation. I hope he and the EEOC can get Ms. Mims within the government so that she can retire with the benefits that she deserves.

CB Buyt
0
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CB Buyt 08/06/11 - 02:07 pm
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0
Can't WAIT to see how this
Unpublished

Can't WAIT to see how this turns out!!

allhans
24148
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allhans 08/06/11 - 02:13 pm
0
0
Is it legal to show

Is it legal to show favoritism by hiring or promoting a relative? Several years ago a top level employee with the fire dept took early retirement so that one of his relatives could be hired. They wouldn't allow both.
So what gives with this?

ECDanes
1
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ECDanes 08/06/11 - 02:13 pm
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0
Kendrick needs to go! 7

Kendrick needs to go! 7 promotions? 3 more directors positions? And btw, where is that $25,000, Mr Kendrick? Any leads yet?

allhans
24148
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allhans 08/06/11 - 02:14 pm
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Could someone find out which

Could someone find out which school she attended to earn the MBA?

dickworth1
954
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dickworth1 08/06/11 - 02:22 pm
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Steve Kendricks and the rest
Unpublished

Steve Kendricks and the rest of the clowns working for the taxpayers need to be ready for their next election. I intend to ask the hard questions that will epose exactly where you stand on race and I want to know what college your department heads graduated from and the
type of degree and the year. This should be public knowledge if these
department heads used these facts to secure their positions. I personally think it is who you know and not what you know, just talk
to some of these so called educated folks or read some of their accomplishments and qualifications and experience, it is very suspect.
Steve Kendricks you are going to be defeated next election! Write it down.

Willow Bailey
20603
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Willow Bailey 08/06/11 - 02:30 pm
0
0
RC politics as usual. Good

RC politics as usual. Good luck with your case Ms. Mims.

ECDanes
1
Points
ECDanes 08/06/11 - 02:31 pm
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0
Kendrick should be defeated

Kendrick should be defeated just for the missing $25K incident.. and then blaming the media for talking about it. Kendrick should be defeated for refusing to step down from the DDA when the state charter clearly states that no more than 1 county elected official can serve on that body at the same time. Commissioner Hatney also serves on the DDA.. one should step down. Now this is just icing on the cake. Will someone launch an ethics complaint against Mr kendrick?

ECDanes
1
Points
ECDanes 08/06/11 - 02:34 pm
0
0
nepotism in Augusta politics?

nepotism in Augusta politics? Say it aint so?

Willow Bailey
20603
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Willow Bailey 08/06/11 - 02:37 pm
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ECDanes, yes, and to add to

ECDanes, yes, and to add to your comment... according to this article only one reduction in the great scheme of reduction to Kendrick's staff. That should be very beneficial in her lawsuit. And yeah, what about the $25,000 missing dollars, swept under the desk as usual? Who has been held responsible for that? Vote Kendrick out of office!!

Willow Bailey
20603
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Willow Bailey 08/06/11 - 02:42 pm
0
0
And changes in educational

And changes in educational requirements are never retroactive. I wish there was a reporter that would investigate the validity of this new rule as it would apply to all in the RC government who are in positions of management, but never mind; the lawyers will handle it. May they teach Kendricks and RC the new meaning of telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

ECDanes
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ECDanes 08/06/11 - 02:45 pm
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exactly! It's one thing to

exactly! It's one thing to have a new requirement for any new hires, but to retroactively do this and then be promoting your family? Kinda stanks if you ask me.

ECDanes
1
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ECDanes 08/06/11 - 02:47 pm
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Let's play "the $25,000

Let's play "the $25,000 Pyramid!" Our First contestant in the hot seat, Richmond County tax assesor Steven kendrick!

drivenslow
0
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drivenslow 08/06/11 - 02:48 pm
0
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an online college degree is
Unpublished

an online college degree is not worth the paper its printed on in the real world.....keep believing all those commercials...but at least you can still get college loans which usually get spent on nikes and polo shirts lol

drivenslow
0
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drivenslow 08/06/11 - 02:53 pm
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and notice he said a degree
Unpublished

and notice he said a degree so basically you can have a college degree in finger painting and thats good enough to be a director in richmond county

AutumnLeaves
8612
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AutumnLeaves 08/06/11 - 02:57 pm
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I've never heard of a

I've never heard of a government that was rumored to have more family and extended family members working in it than in the backhills of Appalachia. Good grief. And so many other employees with criminal records, and I'm not talking speeding tickets. But I'm not saying anything that isn't already public knowledge. Am curious though, who the spouse was of the now retired person that secretly married while the spouse to be was under his supervision?

ECDanes
1
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ECDanes 08/06/11 - 02:57 pm
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drivenslow.. did you read

drivenslow.. did you read this? "Mims said being unemployed is tough on her, as she now relies on her grown son for financial support because she's three years short of receiving full payment from the retirement plan she paid into for many years." sounds like she was paying into a retirement plan for all those years and is being cut off 3 years short.. what was she supposed to do? Sounds like she had her retirement planned out and paid into it.

Willow Bailey
20603
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Willow Bailey 08/06/11 - 02:58 pm
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drivenslow, try reading slow

drivenslow, try reading slow or maybe you should consider getting one of those loans your commented on and invest in a course on reading comprension.."as she now relies on her grown son for financial support because she's three years short of receiving full payment from the retirement plan she paid into for many years."

ECDanes
1
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ECDanes 08/06/11 - 03:18 pm
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yeah highhp57 but will The

yeah highhp57 but will The Chronic call him out on this? I doubt it. Kendrick seems to be made of teflon and is constantly given a pass.. oh there may be a little fanny slap editorial but nothing serious. Just watch. The powers that be don't want kendrick out, so they won't keep the heat on him. Why do you think that is?

Little Lamb
47278
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Little Lamb 08/06/11 - 03:43 pm
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Kendrick is hiding behind

Kendrick is hiding behind some policy rule that department heads have college degrees; yet he has no problem serving on the Downtown Development Authority board of directors in violation of a city ordinance.

ECDanes
1
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ECDanes 08/06/11 - 03:48 pm
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0
Ding Ding Ding! and the

Ding Ding Ding! and the winner of today's spiral sliced ham is Little Lamb.

lakenda25
0
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lakenda25 08/06/11 - 04:16 pm
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So what if Ms. Douse received

So what if Ms. Douse received her degree online? There are many colleges and universities with online degree programs and classes such as Harvard, Virginia Tech, Oregon State University, and University of South Carolina to name a few. New technology allows such things. I think the South needs to get with the program. I know plenty of working adults that are getting advanced degrees online. People love to judge others when they don't know all the details. Let's wait to see what happens. Hopefully Ms. Mims will get her job back.

Lori Davis
964
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Lori Davis 08/06/11 - 04:18 pm
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I filed a complaint with Fred

I filed a complaint with Fred Russell concerning a code enforcement officer of 34 years. The officer lied twice and I could prove it. I was never called in to testify. Also, this same officer gave the go ahead to Mercy Ministries and Comcast to build a community garden in Harrisburg on property that did not belong to them. How do I know? Because 4 of us own the property. There is no telling how much money was spent to put in substantial planter boxes. This officer who is a veteran should be fired and that is one less city employee. Bring Ms. Mims back. Get rid of the code enforcement idiot.

Willow Bailey
20603
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Willow Bailey 08/06/11 - 04:29 pm
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0
Lori, if they got rid of all

Lori, if they got rid of all of the idiots in Whoville, who would run things?

allhans
24148
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allhans 08/06/11 - 04:35 pm
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I found this online but it

I found this online but it doesn't tell us much.
Takiyah Douse's Education
Troy University MBA, Business
2003 – 2004

Activities and Societies: Leadership Augusta Delta Sigma Theta

allhans
24148
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allhans 08/06/11 - 09:44 pm
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Oh well.

Oh well.

Lori Davis
964
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Lori Davis 08/06/11 - 04:38 pm
0
0
You have a point there,

You have a point there, Willow. I just keep pecking away one at the time. So many of these gov't employees need to go. I'll wear it out every time I am affected by one.

ECDanes
1
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ECDanes 08/06/11 - 05:02 pm
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I hope Ms Mims knows she has

I hope Ms Mims knows she has a lot of local supporters on the internet. My avatar should give her a clue of where to look.

ECDanes
1
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ECDanes 08/06/11 - 05:44 pm
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well since Mr kendrick is all

well since Mr kendrick is all of a sudden a stickler for technicalities, perhaps now he will follow the state law and step down from the DDA

Riverman1
87562
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Riverman1 08/06/11 - 05:50 pm
0
0
Hopefully, one of these new

Hopefully, one of these new directors will remember to lock the safe.

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