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Russell will announce run for mayor soon, campaign chairman says

Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014 4:27 PM
Last updated 9:18 PM
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Former Augusta City Ad­min­istrator Fred Russell is running for mayor, his campaign chairman, Duncan Johnson, said Tuesday.

Former City Administrator Fred Russell will announce his run for mayor next week. His campaign chairman, Duncan Johnson, said Russell is the "most qualified" candidate and knows city government.   FILE/STAFF
FILE/STAFF
Former City Administrator Fred Russell will announce his run for mayor next week. His campaign chairman, Duncan Johnson, said Russell is the "most qualified" candidate and knows city government.

“He is running,” Johnson said. “His announcement will be coming shortly.”

Johnson, the president of Johnson Motor Co., said he has developed a friendship with Russell over the past few years and believes in Russell’s ability to lead the city as mayor.

“Our city, with all the great things that are about to happen to it, with an inexperienced city administrator coming in, we don’t need an inexperienced mayor,” Johnson said.

“He’s the most qualified to make sure that we handle the prosperity coming – the Cyber Command, and all the schools.”

A former Richmond, Va., po­lice chief, Russell joined Augusta’s government in 2002 as a deputy city administrator. He was promoted to administrator in 2004 and held the job for nearly 10 years.

On Dec. 9, the Augusta Com­mission, citing a need to move in “a different direction,” voted 9-0 to fire him and begin a nationwide search for his replacement.

The firing took place in the midst of rapid changes, including the recent announcement that the Army is relocating the Army Cyber Command Center to Fort Gordon within the next five years – a move that is slated to create more than 2,000 high-paying jobs for the Augusta area.

Russell is the “most qualified” and knows city government, Johnson said.

“He’s got the ability to work with everybody. He walks in on Day 1 knowing how to help the city run,” Johnson said.

Also on Russell’s team is Augusta businessman Brad Usry, who is serving as campaign treasurer, Johnson said.

Russell will take on a growing field of candidates in an election that is scheduled for May 20.

Also seeking the mayor’s
post are Augusta Commission
member Alvin Mason; state Sen. Hardie Davis, D-Augusta; entrepreneur Helen Blocker-Adams;
and businessman Charles Cum­mings.

Comments (26) Add comment
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corgimom
31471
Points
corgimom 01/28/14 - 05:38 pm
5
10
You're so Augusta if you get

You're so Augusta if you get fired as the city administrator and then run for mayor!

And people wonder why Augusta is a laughing stock?

countyman
19731
Points
countyman 01/28/14 - 06:26 pm
5
10
Irony

Why do you spend all day commenting on the " Augusta Chronicle" if we're a laughing stock?

Anybody can run for the position of mayor...

augustarookie
300
Points
augustarookie 01/28/14 - 07:06 pm
5
2
Too funny

Hope he wins. Let the fireworks begin.

Just My Opinion
5469
Points
Just My Opinion 01/28/14 - 08:38 pm
4
1
Wonder who Mayor Cope will

Wonder who Mayor Cope will endorse??
Hmmm, on second thought, I couldn't care less.

Pops
7784
Points
Pops 01/28/14 - 08:57 pm
6
3
It's not really that important

of a job.....pays pretty well for a figurehead.....but you really don't have any real power or responsibilities....

dichotomy
32142
Points
dichotomy 01/28/14 - 10:05 pm
6
1
"It's not really that

"It's not really that important"

No.....but it would drive Marion Williams absolutely out of his mind....well....even further out of his mind. And you have to admit, Fred probably knows more of the ins-and-outs of running this city than any candidate so far.....and where some of the bodies are buried. And with the firing putting all of the pretenses of being nice to each other in the trash can, Russell would not have to play kiss-kiss make nice with commissioners. He would be pretty free to call it like he sees it. But it would be a hoot just to watch Marion.

Conservative Man
5448
Points
Conservative Man 01/28/14 - 11:02 pm
7
1
Yawn!….

….one of the WORST kept secrets in recent political history…

And YES, anyone CAN run for the position of Mayor….that's why Fred Russell is a candidate (har har)…

This would be funny if it weren't so tragic..

Let me get this straight:….the man who has been City Administrator for over ten years, gets fired by a clear majority.
After many, MANY instances of arrogant and (at times) clearly underhanded behaviors, he has now been convinced by the very people he (ahem) "served" all these years that his corronation is inevitable...

As "county(paid)person " says…."anybody can run for the position of mayor"…True.

My hope is that anybody BUT Fred Russell will become the next Mayor of Augusta…

I am a conservative. BUT I will vote for ANY of the other candidates before I will cast a vote for this man.

I will take an untried neophyte, before I will accept someone whose record I already know to be NOT in the best interests of Richmond County….

I suggest ALL conservative voters do the same…

Conservative Man
5448
Points
Conservative Man 01/28/14 - 11:05 pm
5
2
P.S….dichotomy...

…. I submit that Fred knows less of the "ins and outs of running this city " than he does about the "ins and outs of RUINING this city"...

sand gnat
472
Points
sand gnat 01/28/14 - 11:54 pm
2
8
Right Call

It's about time Augusta has the opportunity to get an effective Mayor that has the support of families with roots and heritage in Augusta. The tail has been wagging the dog long enough. Who knows, this could be the first step of more to come to bring back a city and county that we were once proud of. Good luck Fred!

Conservative Man
5448
Points
Conservative Man 01/29/14 - 01:45 am
6
1
sand gnat…..

…."roots in Augusta?'…"support of families?'…."the tail has been wagging the dog long enough?"….

Ok...

The "roots" of Mr. Russell stretch ALL the way back to when he was hired to work for this city …circa 2001.

The "support of families" is the support of certain well connected families that have been part of the problem in Augusta politics for the last 75 years..

And the tail has been "wagging the dog" for far longer than that. Which explains why Augusta,the second largest metropolitan area in the state of Georgia , is and will continue to be a laughingstock of Ga politics….

A vote Fred Russell is a vote to continue the trend….

GnipGnop
11908
Points
GnipGnop 01/29/14 - 01:21 am
8
1
He will probably have a chance

of winning. Augusta citizens seem to love to screw themselves.

Conservative Man
5448
Points
Conservative Man 01/29/14 - 01:49 am
5
1
Mores the pity…...

..the fact that ARC thinks this is the best we can do
..

corgimom
31471
Points
corgimom 01/29/14 - 07:55 am
3
1
Countyman, because I want to.

Countyman, because I want to. And because I can.

Because some of us love Augusta and are so saddened to see what it has become, and know that it could be so much better.

While you are in raptures over the "prestige" that Augusta receives by having an H&M clothing store- I can hardly bring myself to type that, it's so silly- the rest of us see how there are terrible problems in Augusta that aren't being addressed.

Like crime. Like poverty. Like the abominable schools and the atrocious graduation rate. Like the way Augusta is failing its children, the future residents of Augusta, and has been for years.

corgimom
31471
Points
corgimom 01/29/14 - 07:56 am
0
1
Sand gnat, if he couldn't

Sand gnat, if he couldn't bring back Augusta as city manager, why would you think he could do it as mayor, whose job has less power than the manager?

Ay yi yi. BOHICA, Augusta!

Brad Owens
4290
Points
Brad Owens 01/29/14 - 09:34 am
6
1
He can't win...

The voter numbers are just not there for white candidates anymore. plus, look at his chairman and treasurer, not exactly the Rainbow Coalition are they?

Now, before someone gets all upset about the race issue just look at the FACTS. If you want to see what I mean, look no further than these last two races where it was countywide with a white candidate versus a black one; WHO is Solicitor? WHO is Sheriff?

This will be an interesting year here in politics, but the days of minority rule are over countywide here in Augusta-Richmond County.

I compare ARC to Rhodesia in 1980, the numbers just don't hold up and the white minority will be surrendering power on all levels soon enough. The question is; who is our Mugabe?

Dixieman
14426
Points
Dixieman 01/29/14 - 10:04 am
4
2
Dear fellow commentators,

I see a big mistake in many posts here: You are taking this seriously, as if it is an activity conducted by mature adults.
It is not. This is dumb entertainment, like cage fighting or wrasslin', without having to pay for cable.
My advice:
1. Move to Columbia County.
2. Buy popcorn.
3. Sit back and enjoy the show.
I would vote for Fred just to have the pleasure of watching the fur fly!
And if you take any of this seriously, you need to develop a hobby like woodworking or fishing.

Riverman1
82443
Points
Riverman1 01/29/14 - 11:41 am
3
2
Davis

At one time I supported Alvin Mason, but I lost my enthusiasm for him the last couple of years. The same with Helen Blocker-Adams. She has simply never garnered serious backing. Hardee Davis will pull enough white votes from those anti-Russell people as evidenced by the comments here to make it into a run-off. The run-off will be Davis vs. Russell and Davis will win.

Having a strong black person as Mayor may be what’s necessary to maintain decorum and work toward desirable goals. Anything has to be an improvement on Copenhaver heading to the beach at the first sign of trouble.

Capitalismisgood
65
Points
Capitalismisgood 01/29/14 - 12:05 pm
3
1
Fred for Mayor

Fred along with Duncan & Brad.....WINNING TEAM!

triscuit
2996
Points
triscuit 01/29/14 - 01:13 pm
2
1
Yep Russell's got the Country

Yep Russell's got the Country Club/Hill crowd backing him. But he's counting on a lot of white votes that are NOT gonna be there.

sand gnat
472
Points
sand gnat 01/29/14 - 01:47 pm
0
0
Vote

Conservative Man, that the great thing about a democracy. One person's vote can have the effect of cancelling another's. Checkmate.

dichotomy
32142
Points
dichotomy 01/29/14 - 04:55 pm
0
0
"if he couldn't bring back

"if he couldn't bring back Augusta as city manager, why would you think he could do it as mayor, whose job has less power than the manager? "

Well, first of all he was working for the most dysfunctional group of phony puffed up politicians ever assembled. Our commission makes Congress look like Rhodes scholars. Fred was consistently having to try to strike a balance between the 1960's and the 21st century and BLOW half of the money on one side of town in order to get something beneficial done on the other side of town. At least as mayor he could say what the thought without having to worry about the 1960's trying to fire him. Maybe he couldn't bring it back (I don't think anyone can) but he couldn't do any worse that the other candidates I see so far. Like you said, the mayor doesn't have any power so at least we could get the enjoyment of aggravating the pee out of Marion Williams. What could Russell hurt? He's already got one up on Deke in that he wouldn't run and hide every time something controversial comes up.

I really don't mind if one of the other candidates wins because, from what I see so far, any one of them should provide enough cannon fodder to keep me going on the R&Rs for a few years. Their ain't a genius among them. And you always have to wonder about why anyone worth a damn would spend money and campaign for a job that has NO authority, NO responsibility, NO respect, and not much pay unless there was a way to make a crooked buck.

Riverman1
82443
Points
Riverman1 01/29/14 - 07:31 pm
1
1
One Thing Russell Has Accomplished

He will keep other potential white candidates from getting in the race.

corgimom
31471
Points
corgimom 01/29/14 - 08:59 pm
0
0
Dichotomy, I disagree with

Dichotomy, I disagree with you on one point.

The Commission hasn't sunk to its lowest point, there's more to come, the Cyber Command has got them all aflutter.

This makes me cringe to say this, but they aren't done, in fact, they are just getting warmed up.

Conservative Man
5448
Points
Conservative Man 01/29/14 - 09:39 pm
0
0
Riverman….

….don't be so sure that someone won't step forward to throw a monkey wrench into Fred"s "coronation"..

Pops
7784
Points
Pops 01/30/14 - 08:21 am
1
0
Again I want to ask the question

why is this an office that would make one think it makes any REAL contribution? The current form of consolidated government was drawn up largely by Charles Walker and was set up with the mayor's position being almost entirely a ceremonial position, albeit a very well paying one.

GnipGnop
11908
Points
GnipGnop 01/30/14 - 10:36 am
0
0
Yeah anything developed by

2 federally convicted felons needs a overhaul!!!

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