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Augusta Commission OKs naming interchange for fallen deputy

Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011 9:25 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 5:33 AM
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Augusta Commission members gave the go-ahead Tuesday to renaming a Bobby Jones Expressway interchange for Richmond County sheriff’s Deputy James D. Paugh, who was gunned down during a routine traffic stop Oct. 23.

The mayor and commissioners gave unanimous support Tuesday for a resolution in support of renaming the interchange at Bobby Jones and Gordon Highway -- near where Paugh was killed -- as the J.D. Paugh Memorial Interchange.

Erecting a sign at the site now awaits approval by the Georgia General Assembly when it convenes in January, said City Administrator Fred Russell, a former police officer who joined the Augusta community in a widespread showing of grief after Paugh was killed by a Fort Gordon soldier who killed himself.

The commission did little else during its regular meeting, which followed a public hearing on the 2012 budget attended by very few people.

Several consent agenda items -- code amendments related to the merger of Augusta’s planning and licensing and inspections departments -- failed 4-4 with Commissioner Matt Aitken absent and Commissioner Grady Smith away from the dais during the vote. The commissioners opposed, Bill Lockett, Alvin Mason, J.R. Hatney and Corey Johnson, cited ongoing litigation filed by The Baptist Ministers Conference of Augusta over the legality of the city’s new personnel manual as their reason for dissenting.

Motions to refer the city’s proposed smoking ordinance to a workshop for revisions, extend a current management agreement for the new Trade, Event and Exhibition Center parking deck and approve Blue Cross Blue Shield as Augusta’s medical insurer for 2012 passed unanimously with little discussion.

No one spoke at the budget hearing, but officials present said they’d continue to examine potentially raising the city’s fire tax as a way to help balance the 2012 $134 million general fund budget, which as currently written has a $7.3 million operating shortfall.

The move wouldn’t be a good one, according to Charles Masters, the vice president of the Augusta Firefighters Association, who attended the hearing but did not speak.

“We don’t want to raise the tax on the backs of the firefighters,” Masters said after the hearing. “What we need to do is reorganize, cut the fat and get our department back to lean, then see.”

Masters said he had concerns about how the fire tax portion of the millage rate was used to “back bill” other departments such as human resources, information technology, maintenance and legal for the services they provide to the fire department.

“All that money should be going to fire protection,” Masters said.

Russell will present his final budget recommendations during a work session scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday.

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Little Lamb
46365
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Little Lamb 11/02/11 - 08:22 am
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Susan McCord wrote: Several .

Susan McCord wrote:

Several . . . code amendments related to the merger of Augusta’s planning and licensing and inspections departments failed 4-4 with Commissioner Matt Aitken absent and Commissioner Grady Smith away from the dais during the vote. The commissioners opposed, Bill Lockett, Alvin Mason, J.R. Hatney and Corey Johnson, cited ongoing litigation filed by The Baptist Ministers Conference of Augusta over the legality of the city’s new personnel manual as their reason for dissenting.

There are some things in the personnel manual that have been found to be ill-advised. It should be a simple matter to point out the weaknesses and revise the manual. But this is Augusta, where nothing is to be what it seems. It will be nigh on to impossible for Lockett, Mason, Hatney and Johnson to find two white commissioners to vote with them to revise weak spots in the manual. The white commissioners have dug in their heels and say that the manual is a "whole-cloth" document – never to be questioned, never to be revised. It has been canonized.

The first item that should be excised from the manual is the section on the golden parachutes for the city administrator and the city attorney. Those two wrote the manual, and they set themselves up for fat severance packages if they are terminated for any reason. That's just wrong, wrong, wrong.

The second thing is the city administrator's power to grant raises up to 15% to anyone at any time. Though he probably won't do it, he still has the power to grant raises with no restriction. He could grant a 15% raise today, then when the paperwork kicks in and the salary is adjusted in the computer, he could give the same employee another 15% raise — exponential salary inflation. It could bankrupt the city and still be within the scope of the manual. The commission needs to take back control of payroll expenditures.

my.voice
4860
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my.voice 11/02/11 - 11:15 am
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Cant we not find a more noble

Cant we not find a more noble place to honor this man?

Little Lamb
46365
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Little Lamb 11/02/11 - 11:28 am
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Thank you, My Voice. I was

Thank you, My Voice. I was thinking the same thing. In fact, I think that naming interstate interchanges after anyone, living or dead, is asinine. Signs on highways should be safety or informational oriented. Memorials have no place cluttering up the highways. They become a distraction and safety hazard.

IsAnyoneAlwaysRight
40
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IsAnyoneAlwaysRight 11/02/11 - 11:31 am
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0
NO Comment.

NO Comment.

Vito45
-2
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Vito45 11/02/11 - 11:47 am
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Dittos LL.

Dittos LL.

ispy4u
0
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ispy4u 11/02/11 - 12:28 pm
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Don't look when you pass that

Don't look when you pass that way if it bothers you that much. It has to have a name, what is so wrong, if it is named after him?

Little Lamb
46365
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Little Lamb 11/02/11 - 12:34 pm
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No, interstate highway

No, interstate highway interchanges do not have to have names. Most of them do not, but that's changing rapidly.

seenitB4
88071
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seenitB4 11/02/11 - 12:44 pm
0
0
This exchange will always be

This exchange will always be in the memory of passerbys....the more I hear about this officers death the more sorrow I feel ..... the details are sad....We will never know HOW MANY lives he saved that night....I say put it up & also honor him in a great park in the area....
Some of the kin/folks who knew him went to his home site over the halloween & treated the kids..(just like he always did)He wasn't just an ordinary guy...He was special.

Little Lamb
46365
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Little Lamb 11/02/11 - 12:59 pm
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Mike Padgett has had his 15

Mike Padgett has had his 15 minutes of fame. How about re-naming Hwy. 56 for Deputy Paugh?

justthefacts
22193
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justthefacts 11/02/11 - 01:04 pm
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LL, for what it's worth, I

LL, for what it's worth, I thought it strange as well. The intention is great, but not keen on the choice.

IsAnyoneAlwaysRight
40
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IsAnyoneAlwaysRight 11/03/11 - 07:07 am
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0
Chronicle, why not let this

Chronicle, why not let this story drop. Page views are king but let this Deputy rest in peace.

seenitB4
88071
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seenitB4 11/03/11 - 08:14 am
0
0
Yeh...it is time to let him

Yeh...it is time to let him rest...

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