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100 wanted to assist Augusta mayor

Thursday, July 25, 2013 2:13 PM
Last updated Tuesday, July 30, 2013 12:45 AM
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One hundred applicants sought the position of executive assistant to Mayor Deke Copenhaver, from experienced executive assistants and secretaries to real estate agents and Fort Gordon personnel.

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Ex-LeanCor sales executive Al Dallas is Mayor Deke Copenhaver's assistant.   TIM RAUSCH/STAFF
Ex-LeanCor sales executive Al Dallas is Mayor Deke Copenhaver's assistant.

The ad was posted for only five days.

All were seeking the post held for nearly eight years by Karyn Nixon, who left the mayor’s office for the chief of staff’s office at Georgia Regents University.

In the end, former LeanCor sales executive Al Dallas was extended a job offer July 5 at a salary of $41,488.40, according to a document obtained by The Augusta Chronicle.

The applicants included Natasha McFarley – who is already an assistant to Copen­haver but classified as an executive assistant I (the top assistant job is executive assistant II). Another city employee, 911 officer Jessica Wright, also applied. Both hold master’s degrees.

Copenhaver said the ad’s specification that a master’s degree was desired helped him narrow the large pool of applicants. Among them, 32 held master’s degrees, 47 held bachelor’s degrees and three held doctorates.

“Out of 102 applicants, there were obviously some good résumés out there,” the mayor said.

Copenhaver, who selects his own staffers, said he sought a candidate with a business background to assist him with the goals of his final 18 months in office. He expects the next mayor to select his or her own assistants.

“I had hoped to find somebody with a business background just based on the fact that it’s an 18-month position with a lot of economic development projects,” the mayor said. Dallas is “very qualified, so I know he’ll do a good job.”

The city took more than three weeks to provide public information on the applicants requested by The Augusta Chronicle under the state’s Open Records laws and tried to bill the newspaper $131.54 to get it.

The initial request was filed in late June. City staff attorney Jody Smitherman responded July 2 that it would cost The Chronicle $131.54 to obtain the documents, because of about four hours of labor needed to review and redact potentially confidential information from the applications.

To reduce the cost, the newspaper submitted a revised request July 9 for the first page of each application, but neither the city law office nor the designated records custodian acknowledged or responded to the request until Monday, eight days after the three-day window in which local governments are required under Georgia’s Open Records Act to respond had ended. On Monday, Smitherman provided, for $17.36, 103 first pages of applications; three were duplicates.

List of applicants
  • Angela Bing, Augusta, Richmond County Department of Family and Children Services executive assistant
  • Albert Dallas, Augusta, LeanCor sales executive
  • Natasha McFarley, Augusta, executive assistant to Augusta mayor
  • Molly Pafford, Augusta, intern for food writer Rebecca Lang Cooks
  • Quadelya Bennings, Augusta, Department of Defense executive secretary
  • Jennifer Broussard, Grovetown, former PDS Tech staffing technical document administrator
  • Murlene Ennis, Allendale, S.C., Genesis Consulting Associates consultant
  • Terrence Farmer, Martinez, Augusta Worship Center chief financial officer
  • Jennifer Flagge, Augusta, Navy veteran
  • Erica Goodwater, Evans, U.S. Army instructor/writer
  • Toney Griffin, North Augusta, Charlie Norwood VA medical center work study student
  • Alicia Hewitt, Hephzibah, former teacher assistant/cook aide
  • Dominique Massie, Evans, former Air Force security forces
  • Traci Nelson, North Augusta, Keller Williams Realtor
  • Shayla Walden, Hephzibah, Army ammunition specialist
  • LaQuinta Williams, Grovetown, Booz Allen Hamilton consultant
  • Tiffany Agnew, Hephzibah, former NAF Civilian Personnel Advisory Center human resources assistant
  • Charles Anderson, New Ellenton, S.C., former Walgreens assistant manager
  • Delma Badillo, Grovetown, former Virginia College financial planning officer
  • Shondra Bailey, Augusta, Digistar Genesis office manager
  • Tanae Bell, Dearing, Ga., Fairway Management property manager
  • Deidria Bolden, Atlanta, as-needed Administration for Children and Families federal grant reviewer
  • Harold Brown, Augusta, Serenity mental health worker
  • Ethan Brown, Martinez, Sheraton sales administrator
  • Lakeisha Brown, Augusta, YMCA program director
  • Shawn Burton, Augusta, Georgia Army National Guard section sergeant
  • Amanda Cameron, Aiken, none listed
  • Shameka Chandler-Ashley, Williston, URS Corp. finance and accounting assistant
  • Mary Chapin, Tybee Island, St. Michael’s Catholic Church office manager
  • Amanda Chittum, Martinez, former Emmanuel College financial aid director
  • Carmen Clark, Martinez, Elanco senior assistant QA release
  • Karen Clark, Augusta, Doctors Hospital unit clerk
  • Maria Cook, Augusta, Americorps VISTA/United Way community outreach representative
  • Barbara Covington, Augusta, Georgia Regents University information analyst
  • Tyronda Dixon, Waynesboro, Aerotek client support
  • Anika Dunn, Thomson, Augusta YDC correctional officer
  • Stacy Eidson, Augusta, former Metro Spirit editor
  • Regina English, Augusta, orthodontic assistant
  • Diane Erickson, Augusta, United Launch Alliance operations and compliance auditor
  • Valerie Finley, North Augusta, former Aiken County Detention Center deputy
  • Kirsten Fitzgerald, Augusta, Reese Library student assistant
  • Crystal Fleming, Thomson, Thomson High School long-term substitute
  • Omar Forbes, Augusta, Wells Fargo lead teller
  • Janice Freeman, Martinez, former USC-Aiken assistant registrar
  • Kristen Gabriel, Louisville, former Jefferson County elections clerk
  • Christy Gilliard, Augusta, RLM Communications human resources administrator/recruiter
  • Dianna Giraldo, Fort Gordon, former Eagles Insurance Agency administrative assistant/licensed provider
  • Rita Ham, Augusta, former owner/CEO, Home Owner Remodel
  • Tiffani Hampton, Augusta, former Augusta State University administrative assistant
  • Kourtney Hayes, Augusta, T-Mobile USA coach
  • Carovita Hill, Augusta, Burke County Department of Family and Children Services case manager
  • Demory Hill, Augusta, Richmond County Special Olympics treasurer
  • Michele Holt, North Augusta, The Family Center practice manager/instructor
  • Daniela Hudson, Augusta, General Dynamics senior administrative assistant
  • Martine Hughes, Hephzibah, former Workforce Capital office administrator/recruiter
  • John Jones, Hephzibah, former TaxSlayer customer service specialist
  • Christina Kapral, Evans, former Sentinel Offender Services probation officer
  • Kristi Keyes, Augusta, none listed
  • Robert Lee, Athens, Olive Garden food server
  • Stacy Lee, Augusta, former BellSouth customer service sales specialist
  • Ana Rosa Melendez, Augusta, Augusta Staffing, Boral Industries accounts payable analyst
  • Beverly Mills, Augusta, Career Personnel general clerk
  • Mary Moon, Evans, former Capital Bank assistant controller
  • Ma-Keisha Mullings, Grovetown, former Defense Contract Management Agency executive assistant to commanding officers
  • Kiki Murray, Augusta, Georgia Department of Human Services case manager
  • Stacey Nathan, Warrenville, former buyer, URS Professional Solutions
  • Krishna Nichols, Evans, Curtis Baptist School secretary/receptionist
  • Antoinette Noble-Webb, Martinez, Richmond County Department of Family and Children Services community resources specialist
  • Karie Olsen, Aiken, former NCGS document migration coordinator
  • Nichelle Parker, Aiken, former Nova/SRS administrative assistant
  • Chris Parks, Hephzibah, Serenity Springs Private Duty Service business manager
  • Kay Pounds, Augusta, Dorr Appraisals administrative assistant
  • Ashley Pressley, North Augusta, Savannah River Remediation production operator
  • Quisha Riche, Huntsville, Ala., contract attorney
  • Stephanie Rickard, Trenton, SRP Credit Union financial specialist
  • John Russell, Augusta, none listed
  • Cynthia Santana, Grovetown, former teacher, Our Lady of Mercy School
  • Angela Scarborogh, Evans, Kohl’s sales associate
  • Veleta Scott, Augusta, Mobile Venture Partners store manager
  • Tina Shaw, Augusta, Americorp Vista contract worker
  • Teri Shepherd, Evans, former Owens & Minor general manager
  • Natalie Sherrod, Hephzibah, Prudential Beazley support manager/financial coordinator
  • Alejandro Sira, Kissimmee, Fla., administrative secretary to Osceola County Board of Commissioners
  • Samantha Sprague, Martinez, Dillards sales associate
  • Leslie Stegmaler, Grovetown, former Air Force community readiness specialist
  • Nicole Surrency, Evans, Aspen Heights project administrator
  • Kim Tavares, Ridge Spring, former Augusta 911 communication officer
  • Tara Taylor, Augusta, Augusta Housing Authority case manager
  • Shenita Thomas, Aiken, Convergent Outsourcing finance agent
  • Jaisimran Tiwana, Thomson, Wells Fargo personal banker
  • Angela Tyson, Savannah, Savannah Economic Opportunity Authority bus driver
  • Eboney Webb, Augusta, former Teleperformance administrative assistant
  • Shellana Welch, Grovetown, former Valparaiso Law School research assistant
  • Ashley Wells, Augusta, Ross retail associate
  • Millicent West, Hephzibah, New Bethlehem Community Center consultant/grant administrator
  • Ebony Wheat, Brandywine, Md., U.S. Senate Federal Credit Union member services officer
  • Matasha Williams, Martinez, former Lowes receiving clerk
  • Sara Wilson, North Augusta, Lower Savannah Council of Governments business service representative
  • Marquita Woods, Augusta, Labor Ready customer service representative
  • Jessica Wright, Hephzibah, Augusta 911 communication officer
Comments (17) Add comment
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corgimom 07/30/13 - 03:25 am
A sales executive is willing

A sales executive is willing to take a job that only pays $41,000 per year? Really?

That just sounds so odd to me, especially with his credentials and education.

myfather15 07/30/13 - 06:11 am

That's one of the first things I noticed!! This position must be one people take for nothing more than getting known, through the mayor's office!! This would help them greatly down the road. Because $41,000.00 for a MASTER's DEGREE??? Really?

Also, you can expect the EEOC and Sharpton/Jackson crowd to get rolling on this one!! This guy is FAR TO WHITE!! The mayor really dropped the ball on this one!! He had the opportunity to bring this community together by hiring a person of color, thereby bringing diversity to the city!! But did he? Nope, he hired OPIE!!

Not only Opie, but a wall street executive Opie!! What is the world coming too? This guy is actually wearing a suit in the picture!! The mayor should have hired some guy with his blue jeans around his knees, showing his underwear; baseball cap tilted sideways, three gold chains around his neck, tattoos all over his body and pulls into the parking lot for the job interview, blasting music so loud, it shakes the mayors pictures off his wall!! THAT is who he should have hired!!

The least the mayor could have done is a background check and hired someone with at least one prison stint or no less than 4 felony convictions!!

Truth Matters
Truth Matters 07/30/13 - 07:02 am

"...this mayor is far too WHITE."
It's rather early for this kind of cynicism. Now everybody who can see who was FIRST to inject race into an otherwise informative article about a local issue. But this writer and others accuse Sharpton and Jackson of being "race hustlers." I am disappointed in this post as it is also beneath the Christian values this poster usually advocate.

My observations:
1) Perhaps the law allows disclosing the applicants' names, but printing their current positions would have been just as informative to your readers; this one in particular. Why on God's green earth did their names have to be listed? Many people do not want their employer to know if they are seeking other job opportunities until such time they have some assurance that they are being given serious consideration. I know and others know that disclosing this information publicly may lead to negative fallout from some employers. If any of these people suddenly find that their next performance evaluation takes a nosedive, let the ACES know. Maybe they will hire you.
2) Having been in a position to review many job applicants, it is interesting that many still seem to pay little attention to their current job experience and what the open position requires. When some many highly qualified people out of work, few will take a risk on someone who wants OJT. You really need the right skill sets out the gate.
3) People still seek advancement.

Truth Matters
Truth Matters 07/30/13 - 07:15 am

This salary is not bad for this market. I can think of many plausible reasons why a former sales exec would want a different job. That is usually one of the top questions in a job interview: Why are you seeking this position; why should we hire you? I trust the mayor got the answer he was seeking and I say congratulations to Mr. Dallas.

Shademaker 07/30/13 - 07:22 am
Augusta's Trash.

Hire all these people and get the trash cans delivered as I have now been 6-7 weeks without. Maybe before their moral is influenced by new fellow emplyees they could use their brains to figure out how to not screw up a vertically integrated monopoly. Trouble is I pass Daniel Field every day with an empty truck and watch the crew at "not work" and there is no way I can pick up my own can. Or, how about I offer a bid to work a second job for a SHORT while and deliver the cans. . No, that would take 10 administrators and 6 months to figure out how to bid and I'd be disqualified because of my race and fact I am an Augustan. No, wait, the trouble is delivery was made on my street and the driver rudely told my son that we were not on the list to get one. Trash has been picked up fairly efficiently for well over a century and Augusta has found the way to break a pretty good system. Way to go Fred...

soapy_725 07/30/13 - 07:40 am
The King and His Court play some mean games. LOL LOL

The King and His Court play some mean games. LOL LOL

soapy_725 07/30/13 - 07:41 am
Do these Assistants Uno & Dos sign his "mayoral declarations"

Do these Assistants Uno & Dos sign his "mayoral declarations"

nocnoc 07/30/13 - 08:15 am
Did not see a

Meg Griffins name on the list for Mayor West?

opps ! Sorry wrong sitcom.

Riverman1 07/30/13 - 08:22 am
Experienced Business Person With Master's Degree?

I, too, find the salary peculiarly low. A person with “business background and a master’s degree” for that salary? If he’s willing to accept that salary he must have had a spectacularly unsuccessful career. Does the Commission have to approve the choice? If so that could be interesting. I would have chosen the food server. It also appears Deke has at least two other assistants. Y’all may give Ron Cross an idea he needs someone to get him his taxpayer bought coffee.

Riverman1 07/30/13 - 08:26 am
Karyn Nixon

The commercials with Azziz are probably the idea of Karyn Nixon who now works for him. He was desperate to improve his image and that's why she was hired. So tack on lots more state money going to make Azziz look better. Her salary and the costs of these commercials is huge. When will it end with this inept, pompous leader of the Frog Hollow campus and ASU?

Pops 07/30/13 - 09:00 am
Two assistants

"The applicants included Natasha McFarley – who is already an assistant to Copen­haver but classified as an executive assistant I (the top assistant job is executive assistant II)."

The mayor position is basically ceremonial. Seems to be a bit costly to have two assistants.

avidreader 07/30/13 - 09:25 am
Future in Politics

My guess is Mr. Copenhaver has some plans to advance his political career after leaving the Mayor's office, and Mr. Dallas is simply getting an early start toward a much higher-paying position.

dashiel 07/30/13 - 10:29 am
Or Maybe they just hit it off

Deke is a savvy mayor with accomplishments we can point to with pride. One of these was hiring Ms. Nixon, a super-capable professional assistant. Obviously, when it comes to picking a good assistant, Deke needs no assistance.

GnipGnop 07/30/13 - 10:33 am
All that ribbon cutting and photo op stuff

needs 2 people to keep up with...oh and someone has to keep up with Deke's ironman information...times, places, etc etc etc...this is why this place is so backwards...screw the tax payers every chance you get then have these fluff jobs for a do nothing have no responsibilities none voting mayor that should be doing the job Fred Russell is doing...same as having the DDA...micro managing waste of tax payer money....

john 07/30/13 - 11:05 am

I hope these people knew their names were going to be published. Isnt job seeking considered a little confidential? Might make things awkward at their present job no?

millymilly 07/30/13 - 01:05 pm
oh my goodness

For some reason, I feel bad for those who had their names published. I wonder if they knew applying for that job was a matter of public record. I hope that none of them get on the "bad list" with their current employers. On another note, congrats Mr. Dallas and good luck.

Riverman1 07/30/13 - 01:04 pm
Mary Ditz?

I wonder if Mary Ditz applied?

thauch12 07/30/13 - 01:08 pm
Journalistic Ethics...or lack thereof

It looks like Susan McCord and her editors slept through their ethics class in college. There was no need to name names of potential applicants for this job. What a scumbag article to write!

badmoon426 07/31/13 - 10:10 am
So How Many Assistants...

...does it take to make a milquetoast mayor look good?

I do find it amazing that this position required a graduate degree for an executive assistant position. It does raise a question why would a 'sales executive' apply and accept this position?

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