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Augusta Commission extends Heery contract

Tuesday, June 18, 2013 11:39 PM
Last updated Wednesday, June 19, 2013 12:18 AM
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Augusta Commission members approved Tuesday a discounted two-year extension of sales tax manager Heery International’s contract to oversee a handful of city construction projects including $40 million renovations ongoing at Augusta Municipal Building.

The decade-old agreement, rarely questioned by commissioners during previous extensions, drew their concern after The Augusta Chronicle pointed out built-in annual billing increases that pushed the hourly rates of principals of Heery and subconsultants Gallop and Associates and Dukes, Edwards and Dukes over $200 an hour. It was also revealed the group gave com­mis­sion­ers and city employees free Atlanta Falcons tickets, campaign contributions and other gifts. The city provides the group free office space and equipment and pays other expenses.

The extension approved 9-1 Tues­day, with Commissioner Marion Williams opposed, cut $188,435 off Heery’s estimate to monitor projects at the Municipal Building, Charles B. Webster Detention Center, Daniel Field Airport and a new transit maintenance facility. The new total, $1.46 million, includes about $200,000 for work at the Augusta Convention Center and Augusta-Richmond County Judicial Center.
City Administrator Fred Russell, who met with the group last week about the reductions, said he was growing “uncomfortable” with Heery’s contract set to end July 31 with no replacement hired.

“We’re beginning to get to a point where if we don’t act, hopefully today, then I’ve got to start making plans, at least backup plans,” Russell said.

Commissioners added another requirement, that the group’s employee qualifications meet Government Services Administration guidelines, saying it would ensure the city wasn’t overpaying staff such as Heery subconsultant Butch Gallop, who draws more than $200 an hour to serve as “community liaison” between projects and the community.

“It means they can’t overcharge us for anything,” Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle said.

Williams was dissatisfied with the adjustments, saying Russell shouldn’t have negotiated with Heery while he’d never received information he requested about Gallop’s work with local businesses.

That information was included in a 40-page packet Gallop said he had placed in commissioners’ mailboxes Thursday. But commissioners said they had not seen it until the start of Tuesday’s commission meeting.

“When I came in today, it was sitting here,” Guilfoyle said.

Mayor Pro Tem Corey Johnson asked Heery project executives Dennis LaGatta and Glenn Jardine to the podium to speak, including about what Johnson read about himself in the newspaper.

“We are not lobbyists …we are complying with all the rules and regulations like our attorneys have told us to do,” Jardine said.

IN OTHER ACTION

In other action Tuesday, Augusta Commission members:

• Approved a “McBean Enterprise Zone” at the request of Starbucks to allow the company job tax and property tax credits at its new soluble products plant

• Declined to let businessman A.K. Hasan speak to the commission about his perception of racial bias at a pre-bid conference held by Turner Construction. Hasan said he’d try again at an upcoming meeting

• Approved a rezoning petition from Cliff Channell for a new 252-unit apartment complex at 1034 Alexander Drive, with stipulations demanded by nearby homeowners that the complex not use neighborhood roads and the developer maintain a 100-foot buffer on the 21.65-acre tract’s east side

• Authorized further study of a plan to merge Augusta Municipal Golf Course and First Tee of Augusta

• Sent an effort to rotate committee schedules back to committee

• Referred a $183,000 plan presented by Recreation Director Bob Levine for improvements at Riverwalk Augusta to an upcoming committee meeting

• Referred a discussion requested by Marion Williams of hiring a “county attorney” to handle commission business to an upcoming committee meeting

• Referred a “no confidence” vote on General Counsel Andrew MacKenzie, requested by Commissioner Bill Lockett, to an upcoming committee meeting

– Susan McCord, staff writer

Comments (24) Add comment
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KSL
118892
Points
KSL 06/19/13 - 02:35 am
7
3
We are not lobbyists …we are

We are not lobbyists …we are complying with all the rules and regulations like our attorneys have told us to do,” Jardine said.

Durn, you people are hiring consultants who don't know how to do without lawyers telling them?

KSL
118892
Points
KSL 06/19/13 - 02:40 am
7
2
Or are the lawyers there to

Or are the lawyers there to advise them how corrupt they can legally be?

wildman
988
Points
wildman 06/19/13 - 05:05 am
6
0
Tickets

Anyone need tickets? Two to the Falcons skybox, anyone need tickets?

nocnoc
37408
Points
nocnoc 06/19/13 - 08:51 am
6
4
Don't be fooled by Mr. Hasan

UPDATED TO REFLECT NEW AND CORRECT INFO.

Thank you JWilliams for pointing out we are talking 2 different Mr. Hasan's. (see below)

When wrong it is important to own up to it to maintain credibility.

=====================================================
Corrected comment follows:

In my opinion, if he really felt he was discriminated against he would likely of filed a LAWSUIT already. It is my opinion he knows he failed to meet the minimum bid requirements for 1 reason or another.

However, start counting the days before we see him with a Reverend on the steps protesting some contrived injustice somewhere?

BTW:
Mr. Hasan either displayed his lack of knowledge about the ARC Bid process or used it to game it. Plus he display a lack of knowledge about ARC operations or ignored them. He overlooked the fact that a Federal Judge, years ago ruled against ARC's minority set aside rules and contract process preferences.

No, the days of his idea of preferences are gone.
The once minorities of ARC are now the majority of ARC.

If any minority preference was given out now, the Hispanics and Asians of our community would be better qualify for the set-asides.

=========================================
I stand corrected and admit so.
I expect no less of others, so I cannot expect any less of myself.

jmo
13928
Points
jmo 06/19/13 - 07:06 am
4
0
I was on the edge.....

of my seat, wondering how Alvin would vote on this.

nocnoc
37408
Points
nocnoc 06/19/13 - 07:18 am
5
0
Illegal $$$$$$$$, GIFTS & DONATIONS.

The Laws of Ga (OCGA) are clear.

When are the Taxpayers going to get justice?
When are we going to see criminal action against
Heery and / certain commissioners and others?

Riverman1
78411
Points
Riverman1 06/19/13 - 07:39 am
4
3
Influence Peddling

The influence peddling in Richmond County continues.

jwilliams
694
Points
jwilliams 06/19/13 - 07:55 am
5
6
Hello nocnoc. This is taken

Hello nocnoc. This is taken from “YOUR” post, “Mr. Hasan either displayed his lack of knowledge about the ARC Bid process or used it to game it. Plus he display a lack of knowledge about ARC operations or ignored them for misleading political reasons. He "accidentally" overlooked the fact that a Federal Judge, years ago ruled against ARC's minority set aside and contract process preferences.” My dear sir, it is “YOU” that has shown a lack of “KNOWLEDGE” and it is “YOU” that has “ACCIDENTLY” overlooked the facts; for you see, the Mr. Hasan that requested the audience with the commission on 6/18/13 was Mr. A.K. Hasan (a non candidate) “NOT” Mr. Benjamin Hasan (“THE” candidate). This is the problem that we have in ARC, 95% of the time people do not know the actual facts and cause confusion with “THEIR” statements. “KNOCK, KNOCK, WHOS THERE.”

Little Lamb
43412
Points
Little Lamb 06/19/13 - 08:34 am
8
1
Uncomfortable

So Fred (What, me worry?) Russell is becoming uncomfortable thinking he may have to make plans if Heery's contract is not extended. Well, duh, making plans is what administrators are supposed to do. It comes with the territory. It's in the job description.

Russell should be fired for cause (with no severance package) for dereliction of duty. The two deputies under him can handle the job better without him.

Riverman1
78411
Points
Riverman1 06/19/13 - 08:36 am
6
3
If I could start firing

If I could start firing Richmond County officials, elected and other, I wouldn't know where to stop.

G'ment Watcher
97
Points
G'ment Watcher 06/19/13 - 08:37 am
8
1
Stupidity

I was really hoping this could show the Commissioner's wern't really the idiots they keep making themselves out to be, but no such luck! They all need to go to Atlanta & relax in the Skybox's so nicely provided for them and count their campaign contributions while eating and drinking for free (?). Leave it to Fred to worry about how to keep Heery around and giving. He's worried what they would do without Heery to oversee the projects - let the General Contractors do their job. I can't believe that 9 out of 10 supposedly knowledgeable businessmen voted to keep paying Heery - if they ran their business like they run the City, they would soon be bankrupt!!!!

...point to ponder
703
Points
...point to ponder 06/19/13 - 08:57 am
7
0
....will the rules be followed or...

Will the Commissioners continue to ask for and take contributions, gifts, etc.... believing they have not been influenced?

I'm surprised a higher legal authority has jumped in to investigate their past actions... both the recipients and the contractors.

rmwhitley
5508
Points
rmwhitley 06/19/13 - 09:26 am
0
0
Why would
Unpublished

politicians kill the goose that's laying their golden egg?

AutumnLeaves
5673
Points
AutumnLeaves 06/19/13 - 09:46 am
5
1
How coincidental that certain

How coincidental that certain commissioners are aiming their bile at their own lawyer just now. Why do I say coincidental? Read the other recent local stories; you'll get a clue. I wonder who they have in mind to fill his place? (Rhetorical question) They must know someone aligned with them who they are aware is about to have a sudden drop in yearly income and would like to make up the difference. I hope my gut instinct is wrong; because that would be a disaster for Augusta Richmond County. I have a feeling Little Lamb knows of whom I speak, at the least.

Little Lamb
43412
Points
Little Lamb 06/19/13 - 10:07 am
3
1
Drop in Income

Good observation, AutumnLeaves. I never thought of that.

GnipGnop
11422
Points
GnipGnop 06/19/13 - 10:56 am
4
2
Who's surprised?

Not me...SSDD in Augusta politics. Seems like there is absolutely no one in government that cares that payoffs and bribes are happening. Maybe they are getting a piece of the pie too?

dichotomy
29808
Points
dichotomy 06/19/13 - 01:08 pm
4
2
Business as usual in Augusta

Business as usual in Augusta politics. In your face corruption and arrogance. "Yeh we took the bribes....so what.....we're gonna do it again."

Seems like a LOT of our money ends up in the pockets of people, local and otherwise, who already have enough money to buy them some commissioners.

Maybe South Augusta needs to start a "Let's buy some more commissioners" fund. They seem to be available for the highest bid. Seems to be the way things get funded around here. Maybe we can even do like Starbucks and buy some tax credits. Damned if we don't need some.

GnipGnop
11422
Points
GnipGnop 06/19/13 - 02:34 pm
4
1
Hey Dichotomy...

I think you need to offer to do a study on how to get even more corrupt commissioners. Throw in a few Falcons and Braves tickets and they might just give you 500k for the study. I have seen stranger things happen with the commission....

nocnoc
37408
Points
nocnoc 06/19/13 - 04:54 pm
4
0
Very unhappy given the GIFTS,

Very unhappy given the GIFTS, DONATIONS and etc.

When are we going to see a real ARC Ethics and Conflict of Interest regulation covering ALL ARC elected, appointed, employed or contracted businesses and individuals?

Or maybe it is time to have a Citizens Jury Review Panel that picks 2 persons and 1 alternate from each district from the voter/jury roles and meets once a month to discuss possible issues brought to its attention?
No no super district rep. 16 is enough.

BTW: What is so hard about amending all ARC contracts to prohibit gifts, donations over $25 total per month TOTAL or face a fine or contract default?

gargoyle
12602
Points
gargoyle 06/19/13 - 06:28 pm
5
0
Once again our elected proved

Once again our elected proved they are the best politicians money can buy.

404Law
212
Points
404Law 06/19/13 - 06:29 pm
0
6
I'm yawning...

I'm surprised Susan McCord would be involved in writing this lowball stuff -- simply courting the uninformed who know little or nothing about campaign finance. I've contributed more than Heery to commissioners over the years. I guess that's why I was one of the fortunate one's to still have my trash collected regularly? This is supposed to be investigative journalism? Spurious associations, indeed.

jmo
13928
Points
jmo 06/19/13 - 08:28 pm
4
0
I would love to see.....

them all lead out in handcuffs. But take a note from Mayor Ed; wear your Depends.

jmo
13928
Points
jmo 06/19/13 - 08:30 pm
3
0
There should be....

NO gifts, PERIOD!

rt7171
73
Points
rt7171 06/19/13 - 08:49 pm
1
0
Tickets

I need some Brave tickets.

GnipGnop
11422
Points
GnipGnop 06/19/13 - 09:10 pm
2
0
I've contributed more than Heery

I've contributed more than Heery to commissioners over the years....well who cares as long as you are not looking for them to renew contracts or doing business with them....

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