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Augusta Commission approves 34 job cuts

Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011 10:56 PM
Last updated Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011 4:27 AM
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The man who suggested that the Augusta Commission cut 34 jobs to help balance next year’s budget said Wednesday that he was surprised the group approved it so quickly.

After public individual interviews with each of four finalists for Sarasota County administrator, Fred Russell received only one vote from the five Sarasota County commissioners.  Thomas Bender/Sarasota Herald Tribune
Thomas Bender/Sarasota Herald Tribune
After public individual interviews with each of four finalists for Sarasota County administrator, Fred Russell received only one vote from the five Sarasota County commissioners.

City Administrator Fred Russell, returning from an interview for a similar position in Sarasota County, Fla., said he expected the commission to receive the 2012 budget plan as information Tuesday, recess the meeting and vote on it later.

Instead, after three commissioners walked out of Tuesday’s commission meeting, those remaining quickly voted 6-1 to approve the plan, which calls for sweeping percentage reductions across all departments, $300,000 savings from further reorganization and the elimination of 34 filled positions.

Commissioner Matt Aitken said he didn’t recall the job cuts being discussed at a Nov. 10 budget workshop he and six other commissioners attended. At the workshop, those present appeared to reach a consensus on making the cuts and a few additions from a menu of items presented by Russell. Commissioners Alvin Mason, Corey Johnson and J.R. Hatney were not present.

Thirty-four is a number Russell says he arrived at by dividing $1 million, a round amount he sought to trim from the general fund budget shortfall, by $30,000, a typical city employee salary.

The administrator, who missed the Tuesday meeting because of the job interview, said those who will lose their jobs have not been determined. Russell told commissioners at the Nov. 10 workshop that all departments, including those headed by elected officials, should be considered, except the sheriff’s office.

Positions subject to the reduction in force need to be decided within 30 days so the entire 2012 budget savings can be realized, Russell said Wednesday.

Some could come from the fire department, where a reorganization likely will target several battalion chiefs as a fourth city battalion is eliminated. The rest are unknown, but Russell has a meeting scheduled with department heads this morning to discuss ways to cut.

“He’s the administrator; that’s his job to task that,” Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle said.

One city department head said the cuts would be tough.

“We’re streamlined to where there’s no fat; we’re cutting muscle now,” said Recreation, Parks and Facilities Director Tom Beck, whose reconfigured department recently took on dozens of personnel and lost others in Russell’s reorganization plan.

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Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
Points
Crime Reports and Rewards TV 11/17/11 - 01:24 am
0
0
If they hadn't wasted so

If they hadn't wasted so much, given away so much, allowed so much to be stolen. and never got back so much from employees who walked off with or all the money they gave away in settlements, none of these layoffs would have been necessary. Unfortunately instead of rolling the heads that are responsible for this they are probably going to find skape goats that had nothing to do with losing all this money, fire them and keep their $10,000. a MONTH cronies.

Brad Owens
4906
Points
Brad Owens 11/17/11 - 04:29 am
0
0
Is Matt Aitken saying that if

Is Matt Aitken saying that if he knew it meant 34 job cuts he would not have voted for it? Someone should ask him if he felt misled or left out of the loop by Fred on this.

Interesting.

Did they leave the mayor's NEW $100,000.00 economic "development" slush fund he wanted in budget this year?

Seems to me that is a waste when we are laying people off. The article said, "$30,000, a typical city employee salary..." and if correct that means 3.5 employess were shifted from living breathing employees to the mayor's slush fund I guess?

Interesting.

I wonder if anyone will ask Deke this; should folks get this as a Christmas present (they said choices MUST be made before the end of the year) while he plans on how he will spend the $100K he just got on their backs next year?

You know how much Deke hates looking back in the past, I guess now that this has passed we should just look forward to the brighter future and not ask questions about old stuff.

I am going to dig into the budget and see myself...it seems that is more than certain commissioners do.

Brad

Riverman1
93232
Points
Riverman1 11/17/11 - 04:41 am
0
0
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing realizes his city is undergoing a financial crisis and is proposing salary cuts of 10% for police and firemen. He also proposes a 10% increase in the health premiums all employees pay.

Their city faces a $45 million shortfall next year if they can't get spending reduced. Considering Detroit is so much bigger than Augusta, our debt is not so much out of line with theirs.

Detroit spends $125 million a year on debt from general obligation bonds alone. Bankruptcy is a real possibility with the appointment of a state emergency team to run the city.

If our dysfunctional Commission that spends tens of millions on boondoggles to please the city Copenhaver-Boardman cabal such as the TEE Center can't act responsibly, that could be the future of Augusta. But maybe a state appointed emergency manager is exactly the form of government Augusta needs.

Brad Owens
4906
Points
Brad Owens 11/17/11 - 05:06 am
0
0
It is the dawning of the ‘Age

It is the dawning of the ‘Age of Austerity’ in Augusta too.

I wonder why the DDA and other useless boards were not cut first?

Craig Spinks
818
Points
Craig Spinks 11/17/11 - 05:36 am
0
0
How much bonded indebtedness

How much bonded indebtedness does A-RC and the various agencies/authorities bearing its name have?

Carleton Duvall
6308
Points
Carleton Duvall 11/17/11 - 06:34 am
0
0
There is no way , if I were a

There is no way , if I were a commission member, that I would vote to lay any productive employee off. These people have families to support and bills to pay. In all my years in business I was never responsible for laying an employee off as long as they were doing their job. My old daddy use to say "any fool can fire a person. It takes a manager to salvage an employee" Or something to that effect.

blues550
380
Points
blues550 11/17/11 - 06:55 am
0
0
Agree that there are a number
Unpublished

Agree that there are a number of boards that could simply diasppear and the city would not suffer. The idea of cutting back law enforcement pay is a hideous idea.

seenitB4
96837
Points
seenitB4 11/17/11 - 07:22 am
0
0
I would like to see the

I would like to see the headline..."Boondoggles will cost jobs"

But don't think we gonna ..

dickworth1
954
Points
dickworth1 11/17/11 - 07:32 am
0
0
These commissioners that walk
Unpublished

These commissioners that walk out of the commission meetings are
not representing their constituents. It is like a little kid getting mad at
other kids because he couldn't get his way and takes his bat and ball
and goes home to his mama crying.

belle
311
Points
belle 11/17/11 - 07:34 am
0
0
Second grade problem: Little
Unpublished

Second grade problem: Little Susie has a one bushel basket. There are one and a half bushels of apples in a pile. What does Susie do? Obvious answer...she leaves a half bushel behind. Oops, Little Susie forgot to THINK about this. She has left the best apples on the ground and has all the rotten ones in her basket. Little Susie grows up to be a member of the Augusta Commission.

Seriously? Fred Russell does a VERY basic math problem and SNAP! 34 jobs are gone? No research or thought as to what jobs? If anyone had thought about this before voting they would have realized that this means they must let go 34 $30,000 a year employees no matter who they are or what job they do. There will be no funds available to provide an increase in pay to those other people who have to pick up the slack on the workload these 34 were doing. What do we end up with? A bunch of rotten apples.

Little Lamb
48858
Points
Little Lamb 11/17/11 - 07:53 am
0
0
Scoobydo posted: There is no

Scoobydo posted:

There is no way , if I were a commission member, that I would vote to lay any productive employee off.

They don't have to, Scooby. There are more than 34 unproductive ones from which to choose.

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 11/17/11 - 08:04 am
0
0
how much would dropping the
Unpublished

how much would dropping the dda save us? what's their job? do they do it? what do they do, and is that their job?
i would have walked out of there, too. not sure how anyone sees a walk out on a vote like this as childish. would the grownup thing was have been to vote yes on a ridiculous budget?
How much will this shortfall turn into as a surplus in october? why listen to fred at all? he seems to make stuff up to help things go the way deke and company would have them go, doesn't he? always time to cut workers, never time to pay them back, and find some more money for development projects by the right people.

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 11/17/11 - 08:05 am
0
0
sarasota needs to keep an eye
Unpublished

sarasota needs to keep an eye on the one who voted for that darn fred.

Little Lamb
48858
Points
Little Lamb 11/17/11 - 08:12 am
0
0
From the article

From the article above:

Commissioner Matt Aitken said he didn’t recall the job cuts being discussed at a Nov. 10 budget workshop he and six other commissioners attended.

Matt Aitken was one of the seven commissioners who attended the workshop. Perhaps he dozed off and missed the discussion of the 34 positions to be eliminated, but Chronicle reporter Susan McCord did not doze off. Read her report of the meeting at this link .

You can see about mid-way into the article is a bulleted list of items that Russell proposed. The 34 positions are clearly identified.

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 11/17/11 - 08:17 am
0
0
Although I hate to see anyone

Although I hate to see anyone lose a job, sometimes it has to be done and if the city government is anything like the federal government I am sure there are plenty of employees that are just taking up space and getting a check. I have been working for DA for 19 years and I am amazed at the sorry employees we have, no work ethics what so ever, just a waste of space. I bet the city has a lot of them also.

tinman
35
Points
tinman 11/17/11 - 08:20 am
0
0
There probably more than 34

There probably more than 34 unproductive workers that could easily be let go , plus the utilities dept could sell off half there 5000 trucks and balance the budget!

Carleton Duvall
6308
Points
Carleton Duvall 11/17/11 - 08:35 am
0
0
Scoobydo posted: There is

Scoobydo posted:

There is no way , if I were a commission member, that I would vote to lay any productive employee off.

They don't have to, Scooby. There are more than 34 unproductive ones from which to choose.
Touche' LL

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 11/17/11 - 09:40 am
0
0
Why do you keep electing
Unpublished

Why do you keep electing commissioners that obviously don't have a clue about government or business? Any commissioner that admits he voted on something he wasn't sure about should never be elected for any office again...ever!! Add this, and the racial divide on the commission, as to why Augusta is the laughing stock of the CSRA!

Little Lamb
48858
Points
Little Lamb 11/17/11 - 09:48 am
0
0
Well, among current

Well, among current commissioners, Iwannakno would make sure Grady Smith, Corey Johnson, and Matt Aitken would have to go.

Little Lamb
48858
Points
Little Lamb 11/17/11 - 09:50 am
0
0
I like the way Johnny Hatney

I like the way Johnny Hatney handles the situation. If he does not understand what is up for vote, he abstains. At least that's an honest approach.

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 11/17/11 - 10:17 am
0
0
But Little Lamb, isn't your

But Little Lamb, isn't your job as a commissioner to have an understanding of what is going on? I mean if every one abstains then nothing gets accomplished. I understand not voting if you don't understand but how can something even be put up for a vote with out making sure that everyone understands what is going on?

Little Lamb
48858
Points
Little Lamb 11/17/11 - 10:25 am
0
0
Well, yes, it would be best

Well, yes, it would be best if all commissioners understood what the motions are all about; but if they don't, then abstaining is better than just picking yes or no willy nilly.

The way the motions fly around here, doing nothing is often better than passing the motions.

harley_52
25783
Points
harley_52 11/17/11 - 10:34 am
0
0
Iwannakno said "Any

Iwannakno said "Any commissioner that admits he voted on something he wasn't sure about should never be elected for any office again...ever!!"

I agree.

And it's worth pointing out that by that standard every democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives and every democrat in the U.S. Senate should be eliminated because NONE of them knew or understood the provisions of the Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare).

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 11/17/11 - 10:57 am
0
0
I'm not seeing where that's
Unpublished

I'm not seeing where that's bad harley lol

harley_52
25783
Points
harley_52 11/17/11 - 11:22 am
0
0
Who said it was bad? I'd

Who said it was bad? I'd sure celebrate. :)

countyman
21618
Points
countyman 11/17/11 - 12:54 pm
0
0
Riverman.. I usually don't

Riverman.. I usually don't respond back to the cabal comments on here.. I had to this time, simply because the TEE center wasn't built to pleased either Clay or Deke.. The taxpayers of RC overwhelmingly voted for the TEE Center..

If Detroit has a $45 million budget shortfall, that's much worse compared to Augusta.. Detroit proper is around three times bigger than Augusta, which means a similar comparison would be around $18-$20 million.. I know sure if Detroit has millions in the reserves either...

Riverman1
93232
Points
Riverman1 11/17/11 - 01:11 pm
0
0
Hello, Mr. Countyman. I, too,

Hello, Mr. Countyman. I, too, understand just skipping over some posts. I do that with much of the unthinking spam posts...know what I mean?

But, the fact is the voters approved $18 million for the TEE Center. It's now over $50 million counting the parking deck and there's over another $50 million that has to go to Laney Walker for the "payoff" (that's how a Commissioner reminded Deke of what it was).

Know what another fact is? It's an abject failure bringing in outside events. There are none scheduled. Those with an occupancy rate of 25% and below are considered abysmal failures. We have a 0% occupancy rate. I'm not even sure how you do the math when it's zero. Anything mulitiplied by zero is zero.

$100 million....flushed into the strom drains of Richmond County that have the sewage in them messing up the river.

Lori Davis
1006
Points
Lori Davis 11/17/11 - 01:25 pm
0
0
I guess I am wondering how

I guess I am wondering how many posting on here actually go to the Commission meetings. A lot can be learned there and observed that the AC does not tell you. If those posting are getting all of their information from the AC stories, I would suggest a trip to the Municipal Building to attend a Commission meeting and draw your own conclusions about what is going on. You might be surprised what you see.

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 11/17/11 - 01:42 pm
0
0
great point, lori davis.
Unpublished

great point, lori davis. everyone interested should have a look- no matter how much some blowhards tell you it's a circus and they'll watch so you don't have to.

doc1962
0
Points
doc1962 11/17/11 - 05:34 pm
0
0
Can someone tell me why

Can someone tell me why Inmates get three meal a day when the law state and require only 2 meals. How much does that cost??? Might save 34, jobs.. What about cable TV, How much is that, what wrong with 6,12,26,54,20. Buy a 19.95 box for each TV, They don't need Digital cable. How much would that save$$$$. Cut back on the room service and maybe 34 can keep the jobs that they have and RCSD could give a raise.

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