Confidence in city attorney is questioned

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Augusta Commission member Bill Lockett is calling for a vote of "no confidence" in general counsel Andrew MacKenzie.

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Commissioner Bill Lockett, left, is calling for a vote of "no confidence" at Tuesday's meeting against general counsel Andrew MacKenzie.   Corey Perrine/Staff
Corey Perrine/Staff
Commissioner Bill Lockett, left, is calling for a vote of "no confidence" at Tuesday's meeting against general counsel Andrew MacKenzie.

Lockett, who has frequently clashed with MacKenzie over the wording, preparation and release of legal documents related to the city's current restructuring, said Friday that the vote would serve as "a wake-up call" for the city's top lawyer.

In February, Lockett went against MacKenzie's advice and released MacKenzie's legal opinion on the restructuring to the public.

The opinion, which held that the process being used was legal under state and local laws, was later countered by a conflicting opinion issued by the state Office of Legislative Counsel.

MacKenzie was promoted to general counsel in May 2010 to replace Chiquita Johnson, who resigned under pressure the January before in exchange for a severance package.

MacKenzie was hired four months before Johnson in 2007 and earns $136,359 to oversee the office of eight full-time employees.

Lockett placed the item on the agenda for Tuesday's regular commission meeting.

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broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 06/17/11 - 02:51 pm
0
0
i'd love a rundown of the
Unpublished

i'd love a rundown of the city attorney's greatest hits. who's got some?

paulwheeler
137
Points
paulwheeler 06/17/11 - 03:03 pm
0
0
We need a "no confidence"

We need a "no confidence" vote on Lockett. Wait, there's nothing to vote on!

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 06/17/11 - 03:11 pm
0
0
however you may feel about

however you may feel about Lockett, he does have a point here. the Law Dept has been a complete disaster and should be dissolved. The city should do what it did in the past and contract with a reputable local firm. The truth is, any lawyer who has to work in a city law dept is probably not a very good attorney and it appears that the legal advice the city has been getting bears that out. Is this in-house law deprtment really saving money? It seems to me it has cost more.

Riverman1
93862
Points
Riverman1 06/17/11 - 03:23 pm
0
0
The truth is it's a racial

The truth is it's a racial thing again. It's part of the painful results when you have a county with only 40% whites ruling the rest.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 06/17/11 - 03:46 pm
0
0
maybe it is.. but the law

maybe it is.. but the law department is still a bad idea. The city gets sub par counsel, period. Chiquita was a disaster and cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars. Mackenzie is not much better. He couldn't even come up with a simply worded legal solution to keeping commissioners in the municipal bldg. Who came up with simply designating the muncipal bldg a court-house annex? Not the law department. I also remember the way they handled the Chronic Nuisance ordinance proposal, which was a joke.. the law dept writes the ordinance and them deems the ordinance they wrote as unconstitutional. And Wayne Brown, stating that they are against the US constitution showed a complete ignorance of constitutional law and the legal precedent where these ordinances have been on the books in communities throughout the country for decades. The issue is with state law and Brown seemed completely ignorant on that.

Riverman1
93862
Points
Riverman1 06/17/11 - 04:04 pm
0
0
Haha, on Chiquita, so right,

Haha, on Chiquita, so right, but the problem is any attorney who is paid by the Commissioners is going to have to kowtow to them like Fred Russell.

One thing about Chiquita, the black commissioners didn't personally belittle her as they do MacKenzie even though we all know she was out to lunch on most issues. MacKenzie is much better and the white commissioners will tell you that. See, it really is a racial division....again.

Doing away with the law department and using all contract attorneys would distance them somewhat from the whims of commissioners.

But the truth of that is it will cost a lot to farm the work out. Lots of the people pushing for contracting out all legal work are attorneys wanting a piece of the pie.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 06/17/11 - 04:14 pm
0
0
But Riverman, you get what

But Riverman, you get what you pay for and bad legal counsel can cost you a lot more in the long run in lawsuits, etc. How long have they had this in-house law dept. and how much has it really saved (if any at all)

Riverman1
93862
Points
Riverman1 06/17/11 - 04:20 pm
0
0
True.

True.

Brad Owens
4914
Points
Brad Owens 06/17/11 - 04:47 pm
0
0
If only Steve Shephard was

If only Steve Shephard was black..

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 06/17/11 - 04:55 pm
0
0
Well I would have suggested

Well I would have suggested Ed Tarver.. but that's out

Sweet son
11674
Points
Sweet son 06/17/11 - 04:59 pm
0
0
Lockett and Marion Williams

Lockett and Marion Williams must be kin. Both like to use as much media time as they can garner. The dictionary uses the word "amass" as part of the defenition. The words "a mess" would better describe some of our politicos.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 06/17/11 - 05:05 pm
0
0
Lockett's motives may be

Lockett's motives may be racial, but the in-house law dept is just a bad idea and the city has not been getting its money's worth from this bunch. In house law dept = inferior counsel from inferior attorneys who wouldn't be able to make it in private practice.

Riverman1
93862
Points
Riverman1 06/17/11 - 05:11 pm
0
0
Somebody came on here one day

Somebody came on here one day talking about how smart Lockett is and said he had 5 retirements. I'm curious what that was about. What has Lockett retired from? Anybody know?

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 06/17/11 - 05:32 pm
0
0
I wonder if the voters in ARC
Unpublished

I wonder if the voters in ARC can vote no confidence on the Mayor and entire Commission...talk about a circus.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 06/17/11 - 05:33 pm
0
0
taken from Bill Lockett's
Unpublished

taken from Bill Lockett's campaign website (cached for those who know)

Bill Lockett, the oldest of 6 children, is a native of Texas. He received his early education in the Houston Public School System. Following graduation, he enlisted in the military where he served with distinction for 20 years. During that time, he chose to further his education. He received a bachelors degree in Business Management from Paine College where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and a masters degree in Public Administration from Brenau University.

After retiring from active duty, Mr. Lockett decided to continue his service to his country within the civilian ranks. He did so as an investigator for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management Federal Investigative Services Division, performing background checks on people applying for sensitive government positions.

A devout family man, Mr. Lockett chose to retire a second time to spend more time with his family; his wife, of 41 years, Jewell, and their four sons: William, Jr., Jeffrey, Perry, and Aashir. Obviously inspired by his wife, Mr. Lockett chose to enter the field of education as his third career. As a result, he spent 10 years as a teacher at George P. Butler Comprehensive High School.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 06/17/11 - 05:36 pm
0
0
Iwannakno: What mayor? you

Iwannakno: What mayor? you only hear from him when someone says "new ballpark"

404Law
226
Points
404Law 06/17/11 - 05:49 pm
0
0
FINALLY! As I've said all

FINALLY! As I've said all along, most of the issues confronting the commission stem from poor counsel. Whether it is voted on or not, I have to give Lockett credit for this move.

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 06/17/11 - 05:57 pm
0
0
I'm sorry... I should have
Unpublished

I'm sorry... I should have said Commission and Cal Ripken's personal assistant.

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 06/17/11 - 07:24 pm
0
0
I think Anthony Esposito

I think Anthony Esposito would have been a good municipal lawyer. Not sure if he has the background to do it, but he sure has the drive and smarts.

ECDanes
1
Points
ECDanes 06/17/11 - 07:31 pm
0
0
Yes, Taylor I agree. He is an

Yes, Taylor I agree. He is an attorney I believe. I always enjoyed listening to him on the radio when he had a show

double_standard
166
Points
double_standard 06/17/11 - 07:33 pm
0
0
Why does this have to be

Why does this have to be racial? Lockett wasn't even a commissioner during the reigns of Johnson.

ECDanes
1
Points
ECDanes 06/17/11 - 07:35 pm
0
0
It could just be that the

It could just be that the in-house law dept is incompetent

hounddog
0
Points
hounddog 06/17/11 - 08:14 pm
0
0
ilove, ‘taken from Bill
Unpublished

ilove, ‘taken from Bill Lockett's campaign website (cached for those who know)’
Does his web also state the fact that he is an idiot?

allhans
24898
Points
allhans 06/17/11 - 09:27 pm
0
0
He oversees eight full-time

He oversees eight full-time employees? Can this be right? How much work does the county have, anyhow.

hhwilli
0
Points
hhwilli 06/17/11 - 10:07 pm
0
0
Don Quixote, tilting at

Don Quixote, tilting at windmills.... that is what the Augusta Commission reminds me of. They will fight about just about anything. It's amazing they ever get anything done.... or do they?

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 06/17/11 - 11:10 pm
0
0
He oversees 8 fulltime

He oversees 8 fulltime employees, but does anyone want to venture a guess at how many outside lawyers he has hired and now oversees?

Brad Owens
4914
Points
Brad Owens 06/18/11 - 03:22 am
0
0
Insider Info, EXACTLY! The

Insider Info, EXACTLY! The reason they created this dept was to "save money" but the real reason was to get rid of the white county attorney so they could hire more "black" attorneys.

Now that is just the fact, so when Chiquita got into all that trouble she was given many passes, and she even hired OUTSIDE counsel from Atlanta, I guess she could not find any lawyers to help here in Augusta so she had to hire old buddies from Atlanta.

The idea behind the "legal" department was one Sen Walker had because he could not control Robert C. Daniels or Jim Wall. A county attorney is a powerful person and everyone knows how much folks hate sharing power, much less good honest attorneys that cannot be bullied into giving bad opinions.

Brad

Riverman1
93862
Points
Riverman1 06/18/11 - 08:29 am
0
0
The racial component is

The racial component is certainly a major part of what's behind this, but there is also a money angle. Daniels and Walls made millions off city business while doing little work. When they started the clock it wasn't cheap. I'm sure attorneys likely to get lots of the business are pushing to get things back to the way they were. I know Joe Bowles has said before the county paid Law Dept. is a responsive and economical way to handle legal matters.

Just Asking
17
Points
Just Asking 06/18/11 - 09:12 am
0
0
Makenzie had no previous

Makenzie had no previous government law experience, and he hired a staff attorney who has been unable to pass the Georgia bar, so is not licensed to practice here. Is it fair to expect competent results out of them? Why not give them years to learn at taxpayers' expense? It can only get better, right?

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 06/18/11 - 09:36 am
0
0
riverman: "joe bowles has
Unpublished

riverman: "joe bowles has said before the county paid legal dept was a responsive and economical way to handle legal matters." did joe bowles also say/vote that the tee center was a good use of a hundred million dollars? maybe without a county paid legal dept we could have fewer closed legal sessions. and why is mckenzie in there during meetings anyway? remember last week's commission vote to have a baseball stadium vote on the general election ballot? how did jerry brigham know it wouldn't work and the legal dept didn't? shouldn't the legal dept have counselled the commission into the proper legal wording right there?

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