Numbers show Russell may have exceeded raise limit

Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011 3:02 PM
Last updated 10:06 PM
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Several of the 44 raises awarded by City Administrator Fred Russell to select employees involved in the ongoing reorganization of Augusta government appear larger than the administrator is authorized to give, according to an Augusta Chronicle review of the numbers.

According to data provided Tuesday by the city’s Human Resources Department, several employees -- including seven in Engineering and three in Recreation, Parks and Facilities -- were awarded pay increases of more than 15 percent.

Among the largest hikes were two engineers whose salaries grew by about 37 percent and 47 percent, respectively.

The new personnel manual adopted by the commission in March permits Russell to authorize raises of 15 percent or less.

Russell said he hadn't seen the figures and attributed the error to a miscalculation by Human Resources.

“I don’t have the authority to get the math right,” he said.

Efforts to get an explanation from the department were not immediately successful. Director Rod Powell recently retired but remains involved in city affairs as a consultant. Manager Robby Burns is out of the office today, he said in an e-mail.

Questioned by a reporter, Commissioner Jerry Brigham said he didn’t know of any reason Russell would permit raises of more than what’s authorized in the personnel manual.

Brigham has requested that the city’s internal auditor review the raises. The auditor’s report was expected to be released Tuesday, but it wasn’t ready yet, city officials said at the commission meeting.

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broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 09/06/11 - 02:40 pm
0
0
wow, 37% and 47%. good work
Unpublished

wow, 37% and 47%. good work again, susan mccord and whoever else is looking at numbers and documents. the rarest of creatures- augusta journalists.

tomcasey
-2
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tomcasey 09/06/11 - 02:42 pm
0
0
So the error with the retired

So the error with the retired firefighter's benefits and now he doesn't have authority to check the math.

Seems to me someone should have checked the raises before they were announced and the checks handed out.

tomcasey
-2
Points
tomcasey 09/06/11 - 02:46 pm
0
0
My earlier post was lost in

My earlier post was lost in cyberspace but the really question is who exactly has the authority to check the final figures for raises? Shouldn't this should have been done before they were announced and checks handed out?

Good catch Susan McCord!

ADAMS
20
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ADAMS 09/06/11 - 02:59 pm
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This a perfect example of a

This a perfect example of a dysfunction government at its best.What is the Mayor and commissioners waiting on its time for Fred Russell to go?

constituent
164
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constituent 09/06/11 - 03:14 pm
0
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Commissioner Jerry

Commissioner Jerry Brigham(you are a liar) was very awared of Fred Russell pay raises hand out to mostly white city workers.

BevBoudreaux
0
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BevBoudreaux 09/06/11 - 03:27 pm
0
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so how will Jerry Brigham try

so how will Jerry Brigham try to spin this one?

Little Lamb
49245
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Little Lamb 09/06/11 - 03:54 pm
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Susan McCord wrote: Russell

Susan McCord wrote:

Russell said he hadn't seen the figures and attributed the error to a miscalculation by Human Resources. “I don’t have the authority to get the math right,” he said.

That last sentence shows again the pattern of arrogance and condescension that Fred shows when confronted with his malfeasance.

The Human Resources department reports to Russell. The buck stops with him. He gets to take credit when a department does something good. He has to take the blame when a department does something bad.

In the past, commissioners would ignore such malfeasance and incompetence at all levels in city government. Let us hope that today's commissioners will require accountability.

Little Lamb
49245
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Little Lamb 09/06/11 - 03:41 pm
0
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Susan McCord wrote: Director

Susan McCord wrote:

Director Rod Powell recently retired but remains involved in city affairs as a consultant.

Former Director Rod Powell's severance package and consultant agreement is on today's agenda. If Powell was involved in "getting the math wrong," let us hope today's commissioners will deny the severance package and give him nothing. This city "don't need no stinkin’ consultants."

dichotomy
37608
Points
dichotomy 09/06/11 - 03:41 pm
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Oh Fred....I can't even try

Oh Fred....I can't even try to take up for you on this one. How stupid. May I suggest a calculator with a % function.

dougk
3
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dougk 09/06/11 - 03:43 pm
0
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Exactly right, Little Lamb.
Unpublished

Exactly right, Little Lamb. I have never before witnessed a professional try to deflect responsiblity for the things for which he is responsible to the extent that Mr. Russeel tries to do with such lame excuses.

DuhJudge
206
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DuhJudge 09/06/11 - 03:49 pm
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And there ARE tigers. Yeah.

And there ARE tigers. Yeah.

Buckys Friend
111
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Buckys Friend 09/06/11 - 03:52 pm
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Human Resources get something

Human Resources get something wrong............nah!

Sweet son
11727
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Sweet son 09/06/11 - 03:59 pm
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Granted I am not a personal

Granted I am not a personal friend or relative of Fred's but I hope they go ahead and fire him so you can see what you get as a replacement!!

Buckys Friend
111
Points
Buckys Friend 09/06/11 - 03:57 pm
0
0
Maybe we won't need a

Maybe we won't need a replacement Sweet son, since we already have THREE of them!!!

Sweet son
11727
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Sweet son 09/06/11 - 04:02 pm
0
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Good one Bucky!!!!!!!!!!! You

Good one Bucky!!!!!!!!!!! You have to be referring to the 'three amigos.'

BevBoudreaux
0
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BevBoudreaux 09/06/11 - 04:07 pm
0
0
considering how badly this

considering how badly this whole re-organization was handled maybe we don't need a replacement. We got 2 deputy admins making six digits each and for the most part they run the day to day workings of the city. Why are they keeping Fred around after so much has come out about how badly things are being run? Is it just so he can work on that ballpark financing package for Deke?

Buckys Friend
111
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Buckys Friend 09/06/11 - 04:29 pm
0
0
Right on the money, Sweet

Right on the money, Sweet son! You guessed it. BevBoudreaux, do the other two run the day to day workings of the city? Whoever is running it, doesn't do a very good job. I am so tired on my city being in the news all the time. Rarely is it Burke, Columbia, McDuffie, Aiken. You gotta ask yourselves what in the world is wrong with Augusta.

Craig Spinks
818
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Craig Spinks 09/06/11 - 04:35 pm
0
0
Jerry, Bring in auditors from

Jerry,

Bring in auditors from out-of-state to untie this knot.

Out of the other side of my mouth, why does the AC devote intensive coverage of local governments only to the A-RC Commission? How 'bout the RCBOE? Aiken County commission? North Augusta city council? Columbia County commission?

Buckys Friend
111
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Buckys Friend 09/06/11 - 04:45 pm
0
0
Thanks Craig Spinks

Thanks Craig Spinks

harley_52
26064
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harley_52 09/07/11 - 06:17 am
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dougk says "I have never

dougk says "I have never before witnessed a professional try to deflect responsiblity for the things for which he is responsible to the extent that Mr. Russeel tries to do with such lame excuses."

You must be considering President Obama an amateur.

A_ATLSoldier_IN_Iraq
0
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A_ATLSoldier_IN_Iraq 09/07/11 - 07:59 am
0
0
Richmond/Augusta County

Richmond/Augusta County Commissioners!!! How long will this childish bickering go on? I always considered Augusta, GA a world class city and place to live. I spent many good years at Fort Gordon and even though I live somewhere else, I will always consider Augusta home. Augusta being home of the Masters we get a lot of attention and eyes on us. Throughout the years many things changed in the Augusta area but one thing that never changed was the cut throat antics and behavior of the County Commissioners. I see it with both the White and Black Commissioners and I don’t think I am the only one. It’s been time a long time ago to move forward and embrace the job you were elected to do and more importantly serve the voters who elected you! Guys I think you see down extend the hand and heart and put all differences aside for the sake of our city/county. I think it’s time to concentrate on moving my city forward. I am watching, and so is the rest of the world

Little Lamb
49245
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Little Lamb 09/07/11 - 08:46 am
0
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Well, even though Susan

Well, even though Susan McCord broke this story a couple of hours before the commission meeting, and even has a statement in the story by Jerry Brigham, the commission decided to take a "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" stance when the matter of discipline came up in the meeting.

The Fred Russell defenders were saying last week that Russell was acting under authority granted to him. But these 37% raises and 47% raises are well above the 15% limit granted to him.

Now that he has clearly exceeded his authority, will that be enough next Tuesday to change the vote to fire?

harley_52
26064
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harley_52 09/07/11 - 10:41 am
0
0
I'd say if there is a

I'd say if there is a document where he directs a 37% or 47% raise be given someone, it probably is a firing offense. If someone says he verbally directed such, then it's a matter of who's more believable.

In the absence of one of those things, I think you'll have to prove he purposely and knowingly violated his authority and that may be hard to prove. In court, that is.

Tell it like it is
35
Points
Tell it like it is 09/07/11 - 11:10 am
0
0
Good bye Jerry, too bad you

Good bye Jerry, too bad you support a snake like Fred. Mr suppose to be Mayor what is wrong with you? We elected you to run this city not Fred. Does he have something on you that prevents you from firing him ? He needs to go, I am ashamed of Augusta and their elementary politics.

Riverman1
94210
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Riverman1 09/07/11 - 11:18 am
0
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There's more turmoil in the

There's more turmoil in the air than there's been in a long time. Earthquakes, hurricanes and commission meetings. People turning on Jerry Brigham. Diatribes at the commission meetings. I admire lots about Alvin Mason because of his military background and his opposition to the cabal projects such as the TEE and stadium on the river. But he is harming himself by taking this whole thing to the level he has....Not that he's the only one.

Little Lamb
49245
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Little Lamb 09/07/11 - 11:18 am
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Harley, you don't need to

Harley, you don't need to prove it in court. Remember, we are talking about a job here. No one has a constitutional right to a job. Russell does not work under a contract. He serves at the pleasure of the commission and may be removed at any time for any reason. That is why he made sure to put a big severance provision for himself in the new Personnel, Policy and Procedures Manual. The commissioners would be wise to remove that severance provision before they fire him.

Little Lamb
49245
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Little Lamb 09/07/11 - 11:24 am
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0
Tell It Like It Is wrote: Mr.

Tell It Like It Is wrote:

Mr. supposed to be Mayor, what is wrong with you? We elected you to run this city, not Fred. Does he have something on you that prevents you from firing him?

The mayor has no authority over the city administrator. The city administrator reports directly to the commission for job direction and disipline. Sure, the mayor is technically a part of the commission, but he has no vote (except in a tie). Six votes, either with or without the mayor, can make this happen.

harley_52
26064
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harley_52 09/07/11 - 11:43 am
0
0
Little Lamb, I'm willing to

Little Lamb, I'm willing to bet you that if he's fired it will end up in court. The only way it won't is if he is paid a huge sum of money to forfeit his right to sue. Either way, you, me, and the other people who pay taxes are the big losers.

I've said this many times now. I don't know Fred. I neither like, nor dislike Fred. I am not convinced he has done anything wrong (in the legal sense) and I think it would be a serious mistake to fire him and pay the price for a hasty, foolish, and emotionally driven action.

I know far less about this than many of you long timers in here, but to me the problem seems more with the Commissioners than with Fred.

harley_52
26064
Points
harley_52 09/07/11 - 11:48 am
0
0
***The commissioners would be

***The commissioners would be wise to remove that severance provision before they fire him.***

I have no idea what it says, but I can tell you this....If it exists, and if they remove it right before they fire him, it will cost them twice as much.

Riverman1
94210
Points
Riverman1 09/07/11 - 11:54 am
0
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I know Mason because of his

I know Mason because of his Army background. I know how he thinks and where he's coming from. He's trying to do things in a straight-foward manner like the Army taught us. He's an outsider with those running Augusta and they've come after him hard trying to bribe him and other things. Maybe he's overreacting so much to this Russell situation because of the past attempts to ruin him.

He can still lead attempts to find a new administrator, but do it in a much more organized and subtle way.

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