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.