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Commission expected to discuss Russell's interim replacement in closed-door meeting

Monday, Dec. 16, 2013 10:38 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 8:58 PM
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Augusta commissioners will give further consideration to a severance package for City Administrator Fred Russell as well as who will serve as his interim replacement at a called, closed-door meeting Tuesday.

The 1:30 p.m. meeting is for the expressed purpose of discussing “personnel,” which is one of a handful of exemptions to Georgia government transparency laws.

The commission voted 7-0 last week to fire Russell, the city’s administrator since January 2005, effective Dec. 31.

Russell is eligible for six months’ salary and benefits if terminated for any reason besides breaking the law. He also signed an employment agreement in 2005 that grants him six months’ pay and benefits if he’s terminated.

“We should give him what we owe him,” Commissioner Bill Fennoy said.

The commission is undecided about who will serve until Russell’s replacement is hired through a nationwide search.

Several commissioners – Fennoy, Mayor Pro Tem Corey Johnson and Bill Lockett – say Deputy Administrator Tameka Allen is the natural choice for interim administrator. The city’s other deputy administrator, Bill Shanahan, resigned in August to accept another position.

“She’s there, it would make sense,” Johnson said.

“It’s obvious that it should be our deputy, Tameka Allen,” Fennoy said.

Allen, however, serves dual roles as deputy administrator and Information Technology director.

Lockett said that her roles shouldn’t be an issue, as her two deputy IT directors can step in to assist, as deputy administrator and interim IT director.

Other commissioners think someone with fewer immediate ties to city government should serve in the interim.

Commissioner Donnie Smith said recently retired Planning and Development Director George Patty should be asked to serve.

“I think he’s an independent voice” who is “not trying to advocate for the job permanently,” Smith said.

While Allen is likely qualified and welcome to apply, the commission is committed to using a search firm to recruit nationwide for the job, Johnson said.

Besides the leadership discussion, the commission has so many large items on Tuesday’s agenda that several commissioners said they doubted they’d get to them all, or might postpone some to the new year.

Other business on the agenda includes:

• Authorizing the Urban Redevelopment Agency of Augusta to issue up to $28.5 million in tax-exempt revenue bonds to complete ongoing renovations of Augusta Municipal Building and construction of a new adjacent information technology building and pay expenses, with debt service of no more than $3 million a year to come from the city’s next sales tax package. This is the same package Russell originally proposed to designate all of downtown as a slum, but has been modified to include only certain downtown areas and avoid the use of the term.

• Creating a downtown Tax Allocation District 4 from parcels included in the city’s large TAD 1. The districts allow property tax increments above a baseline level to be reinvested in infrastructure and other incentives for business within the district boundaries.

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Little Lamb
46022
Points
Little Lamb 12/16/13 - 11:44 pm
1
1
Sayanora

From the story:

“We should give him what we owe him,” Commissioner Bill Fennoy said.

What we owe him, Bill, is a kick in the pants.

Little Lamb
46022
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Little Lamb 12/17/13 - 09:22 am
0
0
No TAD

The TAD 1, covering the same territory as the proposed TAD 4, was an abject failure. The value of the properties now is lower than when TAD 1 was created.

The purpose of TADs is to increase property values in the district. Since the first one failed, and this one proposed is no different, we are sinking tax dollars down a rat hole.

Vote NO.

Riverman1
83978
Points
Riverman1 12/17/13 - 05:46 am
0
0
Value of Property in Last TAD Decreased $20 Million

"The districts allow property tax increments above a baseline level to be reinvested in infrastructure and other incentives for business within the district boundaries."

So as we've seen in the past, the TAD raised taxes and spent on infrastructure, etc., yet the value of the property decreased by $20 million. As LL said, y'all best vote no on this one and go back to the drawing board.

soapy_725
43678
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soapy_725 12/17/13 - 10:59 am
0
0
First discussion. The replacement must be black. Second discus
Unpublished

sion. The placement must be black. and so on.....................

soapy_725
43678
Points
soapy_725 12/17/13 - 11:00 am
0
0
Remember Robert Dixon before proceeding. Who knows who knows?
Unpublished

Remember Robert Dixon before proceeding. Who knows who knows?

triscuit
3085
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triscuit 12/17/13 - 11:52 am
1
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What the heck is the point of

What the heck is the point of having a DEPUTY Administrator and then NOT using them when the head honcho isn't serving? Bring back George Patty? Anyone thinking he's an independent voice is crazy. Let Ms. Allen serve until a search is done...

galaxygrl
1197
Points
galaxygrl 12/17/13 - 01:25 pm
1
0
Charles Walker

This could work out great! If Charles has a Masters he could be our new City Administrator. He certainly has enough years in politics.

David Parker
7923
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David Parker 12/17/13 - 02:53 pm
0
0
in no particular order my

in no particular order my noms are:

Riverman
Brad
LL
Dixieman
Fiat
and I've already given Countyman administrator emeritus status, so throw his name in the hat as well.

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