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Augusta Commission gives raises to sheriff, solicitor-general

Bus company's contract will be terminated

Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 10:06 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 1:24 AM
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Richmond County’s new sheriff and state court solicitor received the pay raises they requested Tuesday by a 6-4 vote of the Augusta Commission.

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Richmond County Solicitor-General Kellie Kenner-McIntyre asked for a 10 percent increase to the minimum salary of $97,000.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/FILE
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/FILE
Richmond County Solicitor-General Kellie Kenner-McIntyre asked for a 10 percent increase to the minimum salary of $97,000.

This was the second time the matter had gone before the commission, and the increases got the needed sixth supporting vote from Commissioner Grady Smith, who was absent because of illness last week.

Smith said he had checked into the performance of Sheriff Richard Roundtree and learned staff members were pleased with their new boss.

“If you’re going to talk the talk, he’s walking the walk. He gets in the squad car, he goes out and checks around with things. I think he’s smart enough, too; he’s brought in some new blood. I say give the man a chance,” Smith said. “There’s been a lot of negative, but you know, you might disagree with the coach, but keep it in the dugout.”

A previous vote on the pay raises to Roundtree and Solicitor-General Kellie Kenner-McIntyre, who became the county’s first black sheriff and first black female solicitor after their election last year, failed by one vote last week and fell along color lines. The increases had the support Tuesday of Grady Smith, Corey Johnson, Bill Fennoy, Bill Lockett and Alvin Mason. Commission members Mary Davis, Joe Jackson, Donnie Smith and Wayne Guilfoyle were opposed.

Roundtree and Kenner-McIntyre, who did not attend Tuesday’s meeting, requested the salary supplements in letters they sent to City Administrator Fred Russell in January. Roundtree sought a 15 percent increase over the minimum of $110,000 set by local legislation to $126,500 based on his qualifications and experience. Kenner-McIntyre wanted a 10 percent increase to the solicitor’s minimum salary of $97,000, to bring her salary to $106,700.

The commission met behind closed doors with attorneys for more than an hour before the regular meeting. Russell previously said he supported the raises based on the job descriptions of each and the salaries paid other department heads.

Smith, a lieutenant with the Georgia State Patrol, said he opposed the increases because other city employees have been denied a cost-of-living adjustment this year because of city budget constraints.

In other business, the commission voted 9-1 to give Mobility Transit Services LLC, the company that runs the city bus service, 90 days’ notice of its intent to terminate its contract. Guilfoyle opposed it.

“Clearly Mobility has not lived up to the standard that they need to as far as adequate transportation for Augusta-Richmond County,” Mason said. “As we begin to move forward with expanding, extending transportation, one should not be rewarded for doing a bad job by being given more money.”

The commission last year warned Mobility of several contract violations related to late reporting, late payment of vendors and rider complaints.

Lockett, who has championed restoring a city-run transit system at least since Mobility took over in August 2011, said the Florida-based company hadn’t created the $400,000 annual savings it promised and has no local staff other than former city transit employees originally laid off in the outsourcing.

“This is something we’ve been working on for well in excess of a year, and we finally got the votes to do something about it,” Lockett said.

Those former city bus and paratransit drivers likely will be called on to operate the service when the city terminates the contract, he said.

Lockett achieved another one of his objectives Tuesday with the commission’s unanimous decision to add Veterans Day as a paid holiday for city employees.

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Austin Rhodes
2936
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/20/13 - 01:37 pm
5
3
Strength did no such thing.

...and he may be about to issue a statement clarifying that.

He signed off on a budget...ROUTINE PROCEDURE for the next year. Using baseline accounting, he used his salary as the standard. You think Pat Clayton goes in making what Sid Hatfield was? Don't be insane.

tinman
35
Points
tinman 02/20/13 - 01:43 pm
2
6
Local Government

It is obvious to me, and I am not the brightest star in the heavens, that it really doesn't matter who you are or what you represent, as long as you live in Richmond County and you are black you can get a good job with the country, elected or hired or appointed and get a good pay scale with it! (i.e. The chief of contracting and purchasing--how much has that individual cost the city over the years? and they just keep on keeping on!!) Am I racist? No, just honest and not politically correct. I believe that if you don't like the program on TV, change the channel. But it seems that some folks would rather shut down the program they don't like. Is there something wrong with proving yourself to be worthy before you ask for a raise? Especially one of 10 and 15 % when your co-workers and neighbors are on food stamps and Section 8 housing?

Why should the Richmond County taxpayers pay for a transportation system that serves only a few and indeed serves some in another county? Yes, the buses help people get to work, I know that. but why do we run buses halfway accross Columbia Country to help people go shopping in Evans?

Oh well, I am old, your children and grandchildren will have to pay for it, not mine. I talked mine into leaving!!

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 02/20/13 - 01:57 pm
5
1
Just Too Big For Their Britches...

Roundtree et al have their raises. Don't forget to give a great big one to Elaine Johnson, since she actually deserves one. I guess the deputies get to wait until next year, or the next.

So moving on to an even more pressing matter is Commissioner Grady Smith's attempt to do away with the city/county ruling regarding conflicts of interest for the express reason that he would be able to perform work and services and profit from his job as commissioner.

There is a reason county employees and elected officials are not allowed to provide goods or services on the taxpayer's government property... it does not safeguard public interest.

A conflict of interest (COI) occurs when an individual or organization is involved in multiple interests, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation for an act in another.
The presence of a conflict of interest is independent from the execution of impropriety. Therefore, a conflict of interest can be discovered and voluntarily defused before any corruption occurs. A widely used definition is: “A conflict of interest is a set of circumstances that creates a risk that professional judgment or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest.

Shoving this license to steal from the taxpayer's down their throats says without a doubt that Mr. Grady Smith appears to have gotten way too big for his britches.

owensjef3
5639
Points
owensjef3 02/20/13 - 01:58 pm
6
3
Pay rate
Unpublished

I think most elected officials usually make the same as the out going official. Strange that no tax payers are complaining about the guy in Columbia County.

Buckys Friend
111
Points
Buckys Friend 02/20/13 - 02:20 pm
2
1
Poor county workers. when was

Poor county workers. when was the last time they had a cost of living raise. Years and years is what I'm told.

SPARKSTER83
259
Points
SPARKSTER83 02/20/13 - 02:48 pm
0
0
I remember in th 80s when
Unpublished

I remember in th 80s when investigator strength did a fantastic job cleaning up the drug problems in richmond county.But i also remember him not marching in to his position IN 2000 as sheriff demanding a raise.my point is he EARNED IT!!!!! MUCH RESPECT FOR SHERIFF STRENGTH.MAY YOU RETIRE IN PEACE YOU EARNED IT!!!

Riverman1
89867
Points
Riverman1 02/20/13 - 02:57 pm
1
0
Baseline budgeting

Baseline budgeting uses the current salary as the "baseline."
It's used for establishing future funding requirements and it assumes the future salary will equal the current one. Imagine that. It's exactly what's going to happen.

Riverman1
89867
Points
Riverman1 02/20/13 - 03:05 pm
1
0
Countyman Is Right

Thought I would never say THAT, but he is when he says the voters of the county would approve the raises. The majority black population would vote close to 100% for the raises while there would be a percentage of the whites who feel they need a raise. We've seen it over and over with past votes of all kinds how Richmond County goes.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 02/20/13 - 03:23 pm
2
1
Austin Rhodes has a good show

Austin Rhodes has a good show today...explains a lot about what is going on.

Riverman1
89867
Points
Riverman1 02/20/13 - 03:42 pm
2
1
Lewis Blanchard

Interesting to hear all the negatives about Roundtree's new Lieutenant, Lewis Blanchard, these days. Remember he was Scott Peebles' campaign manager. It appears those who supported him in the past have turned on him. It's ironic that I'll be one of those taking up for him now with his community policing program.

Fiat_Lux
16200
Points
Fiat_Lux 02/20/13 - 04:00 pm
2
0
Why was anyone surpised by this?

It absolutely was going to happen.

The people who worry about where the money is going to come from are not the ones running the show, not here, not anywhere anymore.

The issue of what kind of job these people are doing is totally irrelevant, IMO. The money simply isn't there, because the tax base isn't there, and it doesn't matter whether they are the best people ever to hold those positions or if they just sit on their duffs all day cruising the internet.

nocnoc
46801
Points
nocnoc 02/20/13 - 04:55 pm
1
1
When in doubt see:

Let me say.
I have the highest respect for former Sheriff Strength and what he accomplished over the years.

An in the case of Sheriff Roundtree.
He is still a new and unknown variable to me.
He is just too new to the job to form an honest opinion about at this time.

Regarding the files:
Any one can view the files at http://www.augustagapolitics.com
where the Open Records requested & released files can be viewed.

The public available files were released per:O.C.G.A.50-18-70 known as the Georgia Open Records Request Act.

404Law
226
Points
404Law 02/20/13 - 04:35 pm
1
5
Excellent

I disagree with almost all the comments here - but what's new?!?!

I really like how the Commission is finally getting things done without all of the bickering and deadlock (post Bowles / Brigham era).

Terminating the lease outsourcing city bus services - a very good move. Slowing the golf lease - a great move. Veterans Day as a paid holiday - an excellent move. Btw, hardly anyone commented on the latter. In a few weeks, human resources, procurement, and the legal department's issues will be sorted out and Augusta will be in a great position to do business.

Unlike 99% of you, I predict good times ahead for Augusta. I really like how things are going.

specsta
6709
Points
specsta 02/20/13 - 06:10 pm
2
4
@JRC2024

JRC2024 wrote: "Columbia County has very little public housing and Richmond County is loaded with it and with low income people who cause the majority of the problems."

Sure, let's blame poor people for all of society's ills. I guess if everyone were rich, crime would magically cease - because rich people don't ever commit crimes - right?

Riverman1
89867
Points
Riverman1 02/20/13 - 06:18 pm
3
1
"I guess if everyone were

"I guess if everyone were rich, crime would magically cease - because rich people don't ever commit crimes - right?"

Specsta, I know what you mean and am not trying to pick on you, but that statement is probably true statistically, although, of course, the rich do commit SOME crime. It's just far less than those in poorer areas do.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 02/20/13 - 06:22 pm
5
1
We could always place the

We could always place the blame where it belongs...1) on those who take others responsibilities away from them and 2) on those who have allowed themselves to become dependent on the government and others.

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 02/20/13 - 06:45 pm
2
3
Riverman....it depends on
Unpublished

Riverman....it depends on what types of crime you are looking for. The rich and powerful have done an enormously good job of focussing our attention to the crimes of the "little people." In turn, it takes the focus off of their really big social harms.

Austin Rhodes
2936
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/20/13 - 07:15 pm
3
2
With rare exception...

...rich folks do not usually commit crimes that leave you dead or bleeding in the street.

As far as "little people" crimes go...I would rather have to replace the 200k the homeowner asso. thief took, than to bury a dead child.

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 02/20/13 - 07:31 pm
1
2
Mr. Rhodes, white
Unpublished

Mr. Rhodes, white collar/crime includes more than economic crimes..unsafe working conditions, distribution of harmful consumer products (including food, drugs, Dalkon Shield) and autos (remember the Ford Pinto)? Or you can look at the Halliburtonwatch website to get an idea of what sort of economic and violent crimes can be perpetrated by coporate criminals.
And, by the way, when I talk about white collar/corporate crime, I'm definitely not talking about a 200k embezzlement. That's a "little person" crime.

Austin Rhodes
2936
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/20/13 - 07:40 pm
2
1
Well...you lock up the politicians that allow those folks...

...to go unpunished...and then you can nail the 30 million or so in the country that are willing to kill your grandmother for her social security check.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 02/20/13 - 07:40 pm
2
1
Good show today, Austin.

Good show today, Austin.

CobaltGeorge
169607
Points
CobaltGeorge 02/20/13 - 07:58 pm
1
0
Austin

There is nothing like a good one liner...says a lot.

JRC2024
9880
Points
JRC2024 02/20/13 - 09:45 pm
1
1
specta, please check with the

specta, please check with the sheriffs department and see where all the calls are and the jail records. Just look at the jail report each week to get a handle on who causes the most trouble and who are the most residents of the hotel. I am speaking of crimes that directly effect us in Richmond County and the part of the population that causes the most trouble. Sure corporate crimes are bad but I worry about being robbed while walking or driving down the street or even in my own home . There is nothing wrong with being poor but there is something wrong with the population that commits the most crimes and that is that they are part of a system that does not reward them and they see no way out. Most of that is their attitude and their fault because they refuse to try to better themselves. They have bad habits.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 02/21/13 - 09:32 am
0
0
Amen to THAT comment.

"They have bad habits."

That is probably the best thing that I have read regarding this matter.

So what exactly is a "habit"?

A recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired
through frequent repetition.
An established disposition of the mind or character.
Customary manner or practice.

What would it take to change bad habits?

The community, the church, the court system, the penal system, the school system, the home system should be focused on this question and it's solution.

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 03/08/13 - 02:40 pm
0
0
a 15% raise for what??? what
Unpublished

a 15% raise for what??? what major case has he cracked in his short time in office..this from a law enforcement official who believe in "dey ar otha ways too bee punishin the homey's who rob, steal, rape, sell drugs and other crimes" din to pit dim in jail"....we should be mo kinda to dem so dey cin have the understanin dat dey aint not got to committ crimes no mo" just his "brothas" on the commission giving roundtree "da hook-up"..maybe with the add'l money roundtree will throw a fish fry in his back yard for the commissioners who voted him a raise

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 03/08/13 - 02:40 pm
0
0
a 15% raise for what??? what
Unpublished

a 15% raise for what??? what major case has he cracked in his short time in office..this from a law enforcement official who believe in "dey ar otha ways too bee punishin the homey's who rob, steal, rape, sell drugs and other crimes" din to pit dim in jail"....we should be mo kinda to dem so dey cin have the understanin dat dey aint not got to committ crimes no mo" just his "brothas" on the commission giving roundtree "da hook-up"..maybe with the add'l money roundtree will throw a fish fry in his back yard for the commissioners who voted him a raise

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