Q: What’s been your toughest legal assignment since joining Augusta government?
A: “There’s such a diverse work field, it’s really hard to narrow it down. It’s certainly a challenging job to work with the diverse set of legal disciplines that you have to work with in a government that has such a broad spectrum of needs, from very technical environmental issues to commission issues. It’s very hard to have a generalist view and to deal with all the expertise.”
Q: What is the most challenging aspect of working for the Augusta Commission?
A: “One thing that is challenging is having 11 bosses and trying to work within that kind of parameter, where you don’t always have a clear direction of what the will of the commission is. You don’t have just one boss, or two or three, but 11. … Each commissioner has an obligation to provide representation to those residents (in their districts), but we live in a diverse city and you’re going to bring competing interests from all those groups. But that’s the nature of a representative government.”
Q: What are some of the challenges inherent in Augusta government?
A: “It’s a weak-mayor form of government, and there’s not a manager, there’s an administrator. It makes Augusta challenging in ways that other governments are not challenged. A strong mayor would have veto power; in a management form of government the manager has hiring and fire power over all the employees. … It’s working the balance of how much the commissioners should be involved on the day to day versus how much the administrator should be.”
Q: How do you tolerate commissioners who speak ill of you at public meetings?
A: “… I’m like a duck. The rain can be hammering down on a duck but he isn’t affected by a thing. Unless the duck gets his feathers ruffled, then the water can come in and make them cold. You just let the negativity roll off you and remember you’re there for a greater purpose.”
Q: Why don’t you take a better-paying job in private practice?
A: “I would be doing something else if I was in it for the money. There’s a whole different mindset when you work in a large law firm. I worked with a man who had 6-year-old twins who worked 10 to 14 hours a day, seven days a week. His wife would bring his kids to the office to see him. That’s not really what I’d like to do with my life. I have two young kids, I like to be around them and have more time with them than I might in a different setting.”