Augusta commission takes no action on ADP outsourcing contract

Tuesday, May 1, 2012 8:45 PM
Last updated Wednesday, May 2, 2012 1:25 AM
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The skeleton crew that is Augusta Human Resources remains in charge of city staffing, benefits, discipline and payroll after city commissioners took no action Tuesday on a contract offer from Automatic Data Processing.

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Commissioner Alvin Mason smiles with city administrator Fred Russell (right) during the commission meeting at the municipal building off Greene Street in Augusta on Tuesday.   SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Commissioner Alvin Mason smiles with city administrator Fred Russell (right) during the commission meeting at the municipal building off Greene Street in Augusta on Tuesday.

ADP, a human resources outsourcing firm with an Augusta call center that is one of the area’s largest employers, has been working with city administration for months to secure a contract on the HR duties. ADP already handles city health benefits and timekeeping.

With those negotiations in the background, however, the city HR department has dwindled to nine compared to 12 last year, and hasn’t had a permanent director since the retirement last year of Rod Powell.

Nine commissioners disagree on whether to hire ADP and voted 9-0 Tuesday to delay taking action on the contract offer until a later meeting. Commissioner J.R. Hatney was absent.

“I think this commission isn’t ready,” Commissioner Jerry Brigham said. I don’t think there’s enough votes to pass the contract, or to pass a denial of the contract.”

The commission was expected to hear Deputy Administrator Bill Shanahan’s recommendation for the number of support staff the city should retain if it contracts with ADP, but Shanahan didn’t have the opportunity to speak.

Commissioner Matt Aitken said he “could have supported” the contract, then mentioned a need to involve city department heads and other parties affected by the decision.

“The phone calls that I’ve gotten in this discussion, they need to be involved in helping us here,” Aitken said.

City Administrator Fred Russell said the inaction means stepping up hiring or taking other measures to fill the city HR void. He was meeting with city staffers Wednesday to decide a path forward, he said.

In other business during the half-hour session, Commissioner Alvin Mason reported from a meeting he had last week with Paine College officials on closing Druid Park Avenue where it passes through the campus.

Closing the road completely is now off the table, with a traffic calming plan in the works instead, Mason said.

The plan now potentially involves a traffic circle or roundabout at Druid Park and Laney Walker Boulevard, using city sales tax dollars, Engineering Director Abie Ladson said.

At the meeting, officials also discussed what should be done in the interim, such as installing speed limit and other signs to slow traffic on Druid Park, Mason said.

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FriedFacts 05/02/12 - 05:37 am
Is the local ADP facility

Is the local ADP facility only a call center as the article states?

In any case, I'd let them have the contract and eliminate the county jobs. Government is never efficient. Columbia County has a large HR office that should be outsourced, too. There's no reason not to get rid of these county jobs with the fat benefits.

scgator 05/02/12 - 05:49 am
Think about it Augusta; we

Think about it Augusta; we will get you an overpriced estimate for privatized services, then turn it down as "too costly" (this gives us credence with you); then we will submit "WHAT WE REALLY WANTED IN THE BEGINNING", and you will praise us for our efforts and cost saving measures.........lovingly, your commissioners. What we really wanted was to still have control and power over you.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 05/02/12 - 07:44 am
Why not make Druid Park

Why not make Druid Park Avenue a zig-zag street like that famous Lobardy St. in San Francisco? They could plant nice flowers and it would become a tourist attraction!

Richard Miesse
Richard Miesse 05/02/12 - 08:19 am
Taking no action doesn't mean

Taking no action doesn't mean anything for the county commissioners. All county (all) employees are clocking in and out on ADP time clocks now. It will be just a matter of time, but how much money will they save.

my.voice 05/02/12 - 10:15 am
Why is Alvin Mason still a

Why is Alvin Mason still a sitting commissioner? If the roles were reversed (and you know what I mean), there would have been such an ugly outcry that the commissioner would have been run out of the county. At best, Commissioner Mason should abstain from a leadership role until his personal criminal matters are resolved.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 05/02/12 - 11:26 am
To my.voice — In the U.S. we

To my.voice — In the U.S. we have this little notion called "innocent until proven guilty." It allows people to be out on bond so they can work to help pay their lawyers. If we made every accused person resign their job before the trial, an injustice would be done to innocent people. Just think of the thirty people arrested for soliciting practice rounds tickets — would you have them be fired from their jobs?

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