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Pick for Augusta's interim city administrator is ‘grateful’ for call to help

Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014 6:50 PM
Last updated Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014 2:07 AM
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Tameka Allen has led the city Information Technology department since 2001 and served double duty as a deputy city administrator since 2004.

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Interim City Administrator Allen said she will follow guidelines and things will be "business as usual" for personnel requests like raises.   MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Interim City Administrator Allen said she will follow guidelines and things will be "business as usual" for personnel requests like raises.

But she wasn’t the Augusta Commission’s automatic pick to serve as interim administrator after commissioners fired Fred Russell – they first took the awkward step of naming Mayor Deke Copenhaver “acting” administrator in the absence of an administrator.

On Tuesday, after a lengthy closed-door session, the commission agreed to put Allen in charge until they complete a nationwide search for Russell’s replacement.

Raised in Waynesboro and now a Keysville resident, Allen, 44, earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science at Savannah State University and began her Augusta government career in the city IT department in 1992. In 2005, she completed a master’s degree in business administration at Augusta State University.

A respected city employee, Allen consistently earned perfect or near-perfect evaluations throughout her Augusta career, according to her personnel file.

As deputy administrator, she oversaw the city’s IT, planning and development, housing and community development, procurement, transportation and customer service sectors.

The Chronicle sat down with Allen last week to find out more about her background and plans for the next few months.

Q: You seem to have a low-key leadership style. Are there advantages to that?

A: I guess if you mean low-key, I’m the type of leader who doesn’t necessarily need a pat on the back for doing something. I would say, yes, I am that type of leader, because one person can’t make things happen. I know I have great people that assist me. ...

I’ve always believed that a good leader doesn’t have a problem with being back with the rest of the people they work with. It takes a team to make things happen, so that’s the kind of relationship I have with the people I work with.

Q: Do you plan on applying for the permanent administrator’s job?

A: At this point, I have not decided to look at applying for that position. Right now, I am glad I got the support of the commission to do it on an interim basis. I’d be more than willing and grateful to help them until an administrator is appointed.

Q: What city affairs will keep you busiest over the next few months?

A: One of the things that
we’re going to be looking at is the SPLOST 7. I’ll be heavily involved in that, as well as looking at the budget. The departments had to meet a 2.4 percent reduction. Those are probably the top two things I’ll be working on in the next couple of months.

Q: The administrator approves most promotions, raises and terminations. How will you handle the personnel requests that come through your office?

A: It will be business as usual. I am a stickler for following guidelines and I will definitely make sure that everything that comes through will follow those guidelines.

Q: You always seem so put together. Were you always that way?

A: I’ve always been very organized and very meticulous. I keep up and plan with pretty much everything going on in my life. I feel that in order to get things accomplished, you have to plan for them. Not that the plan always comes like you initially looked at it coming, but you have to have something in play.

Q: How did you become that way?

A: Since I was young, I’ve always known which direction I wanted to go. When I was in high school, when many kids didn’t know which direction they wanted to focus, I already knew. I already had planned everything out for the next five years.

Q: Did others around you in your youth influence you?

A: I grew up in Waynesboro, Ga. I had a very good support system. I am the oldest of three children, so I always felt that I had to show some form of leadership. I wanted to set a good example for them.

Q: How would you rate Fred Russell’s performance? Any mistakes that you will try to avoid?

A: I don’t think I’m in any position to rate anybody’s performance. It probably should be left to the commission to rate that. I enjoyed working with Mr. Russell tremendously and I did learn some things from Mr. Russell.

Q: What did you learn?

A: I’m very driven, to the point that I like to see change very quickly. Sometimes you have to realize it’s not going to happen as quickly as you want. There’s many times that he had to say, ‘You know, Tameka, maybe not right now.’

And I’m not necessarily a political person. I’m just a person that likes to get the job done. I understand the politics of how things happen – but I just like to get it done, get it done. But sometimes you have to realize you have to have everything in place to make that happen, on a slower pace.

Q: Fred Russell was very media-savvy and media-friendly. What will be your approach in dealing with the media?

A: I truly believe in transparency, and I believe in making the city and citizens aware of what we’re doing, with whatever I can provide to them as far as information – because this is their city and they need to know what we’re doing. So I have no problem in being as transparent as I possibly can.

BACKGROUND

NAME: Tameka Allen

AGE: 44

FAMILY: Married with two sons

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in computer science, Savannah State University; master’s degree in business administration, Georgia Regents University

HOMETOWN: Waynesboro

EXPERIENCE: Information Technology Director since 2001; Deputy City Administrator since 2004

Comments (14) Add comment
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Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 01/11/14 - 09:46 pm
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Fluff

Not too much meat for us to chew on in that interview.

corgimom
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corgimom 01/12/14 - 01:11 am
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That poor woman, to have to

That poor woman, to have to deal with those commissioners.

IBeDogGone
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IBeDogGone 01/12/14 - 04:13 am
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Seems Level Headed

She seems to have the background to fill this position I only hope she lives in RC not Burke, Keysvlle addresses could be either county. Marion Williams is going to have her moving to keep her job if she stays to close to her family!

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/12/14 - 04:15 am
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Residency

Marion Williams supported her, yet he yells about employees being Richmond County residents. She lives in Burke County. Having said that, she may be the best choice for the job for many reasons.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/12/14 - 04:19 am
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IdBeDogGone, we were posting

IdBeDogGone, we were posting at the same time. I believe Keysville is between Burke and Jefferson counties. Mainly in Burke County.

scoobynews
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scoobynews 01/12/14 - 08:36 am
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Keysville is indeed a toss up

Keysville is indeed a toss up between Jefferson and Burke counties depending on where your residence is. Guess Mr.Williams should have a problem with that considering his concern over how much money was leaving Richmond county. I am willing to bet he will not be too concerned over this particular one though. It will be the Columbia and Aiken county ones that will concern him the most.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/12/14 - 10:44 am
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I'm glad she's a family woman

I'm glad she's a family woman and, not that it matters, but I'm curious what her husband does?

IBeDogGone
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IBeDogGone 01/12/14 - 10:48 am
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River Man and scoobynews

Best thing for her to do is get a PO Box and get a friend that will let her used their physical address. He supports her then comes up with the tangent all RC employees should be residents. Don't know if it is dementia or just crazy but he talks in circles!

scoobynews
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scoobynews 01/12/14 - 01:19 pm
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Williams out of touch.

What he fails to realize is that they may work in Richmond and live else where they still spend money in Richmond. I don't live in the county I work in but I sure spend a lot of money there.

sigma1914
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sigma1914 01/12/14 - 04:40 pm
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Some of the comments pertaining this article are ridiculous

If it doesn't matter why ask the question. The article is about Augusta new interim City administrator. Why ask the questions as to what her husband does for a living. Or whether or not she lives in Richmond, Jefferson, or Burke county. It seems as if she would be a great candidate for the position due to her background. We will just have to wait and see what she has to bring to the City of Augusta. This new addition may be what the city of Augusta needs to move forward in 2014 new faces, new ideas, and a new voice.

Pops
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Pops 01/12/14 - 05:59 pm
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She sounds like

a class act. Head and shoulders above the feeling I have about the current Augusta Government officials.......

IBeDogGone
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IBeDogGone 01/12/14 - 06:00 pm
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sigma1914

I do not care what her husband does or even if she has one. I just wondered how she could live out of the county and have Marion William support! Some of the commisioners are mighty good at jumping back and forth across the fence.

IBeDogGone
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IBeDogGone 01/12/14 - 06:02 pm
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sigma1914

I do not care if she has a husband nor what he does, I only questioned the residency issue hoping Marion Wiliams will not jumping back to the other side of the fence since he endorced her.

AutumnLeaves
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AutumnLeaves 01/12/14 - 08:31 pm
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If they mention she is

If they mention she is married and has two sons, I wonder why they didn't put her husband's name? Not that they have to, just wondering.

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