Are the jobs worth it? Yes

But should salary discussions be kept secret from the public? No

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It may seem odd at first blush that two newly elected officials – Richmond County’s sheriff and solicitor general – would immediately ask for a raise. They knew the salary when they ran for the office, one might argue.

Yes. But.

Unlike most of us in the private sector, Sheriff Richard Roundtree and Solicitor General Kellie Kenner-McIntyre were not in any position to negotiate their salary while running for office. Most of us could’ve done so before accepting a job.

They might very well have addressed the issue during the campaign, and perhaps should have. Voters might also have crucified them for it, and not elected them.

Then again, we think Richmond Countians wouldn’t have punished them for being honest and open.

Fact is, Roundtree’s $110,000 and Kenner-McIntyre’s $97,000 – set by state formula – may be impressive to most of us, but most of us don’t juggle the public safety responsibilities their offices do. The sheriff’s department of some 800 employees Roundtree has inherited, as well as Augusta’s crime challenges, warrant a salary boost from the statutory minimum.

We’d say the same about Kenner-McIntyre’s job, considering the dizzying number of cases the state court processes here.

The two requested 15 percent and 10 percent increases, respectively, but the Augusta Commission couldn’t manage the six votes necessary to approve them Monday, falling one vote short.

The bottom line question is, is the office of sheriff of Richmond County worth $127,000, and is the solicitor general worth $106,700? We say yes.

It’s not a matter of performance, obviously; the two have barely been in office a month. Nor is it a matter of seniority; the raises would get both officials up to about the same salaries as their immediate predecessors.

Rather, it’s a matter of what the job is worth to a crime-weary public.

For that reason, we also regret the Augusta Commission’s decision to discuss the raises in closed meetings on Jan. 27 and on Monday. State law allows elected bodies to discuss personnel and their compensation in closed sessions – but primarily because they need to be free to discuss an employee’s performance confidentially. In this case, performance was not at issue – again, they’ve only been on the job since last month.

Rather, this was a public policy question – one regarding what a position is worth, not a person. Such discussions must occur in the public domain. There’s no legal or logical reason why they shouldn’t be.

Even in cases where it’s debatable whether a meeting of an elected board should be held in secret, the intent of state law is unambiguous that the presumption is in favor of public, open meetings.

Nor should a public servant – elected or appointed – want anything less.

We’re disappointed with the commission’s decision to discuss this in private, and disappointed with the legal advice they
received that prompted them to do it.

It remains that the public will be infinitely more supportive of their public officials – and occasionally giving them raises – if they tend to be open with us, rather than doing our business in the dark at the first opportunity.

Comments (22) Add comment
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Jake
32198
Points
Jake 02/12/13 - 11:20 pm
6
0
Though I don't live in Augusta anymore......

.......the commission in place now reminds me of the Dr Doolittle (pun?) animal called the Pushme-Pullyou. It was a two-headed beast with a head at each end. Cooperation from each end was required to make progress. Let's see how much progress will be made though the Patch episode is not a good omen.

Riverman1
81498
Points
Riverman1 02/13/13 - 06:56 am
5
4
Pay the Position

In the meantime the mechanism to give the Columbia County Sheriff a raise moves ahead quietly without rancor. Richmond County is a large department providing law enforcement for a large community with diverse elements, comparatively high crime and large entertainment concerns. This is about the position, not whether you are happy with Roundtree being Sheriff or not.

Sheriff is a constitutionally elected position and it’s not necessary for him to come up through the department to prove his value. The idea Roundtree hasn’t been with the department long enough for a raise is a fallacy. An outsider who never spent a day with the RCSO and is elected Sheriff has the same responsibilities of someone who came up through the ranks and should make the same salary. The elected position doesn’t require time of service or time in grade.

(By the way, speaking of counties, I’d also like to know the difference in an Expedition and a Tahoe? They cost about the same.)

Riverman1
81498
Points
Riverman1 02/13/13 - 07:19 am
5
1
Abstentionism

I know Marion Williams is the one who came up with this obstructionist technique, but it appears the white Commissioners have jumped on board using it against the raises. Austin said if Grady Smith had been at the last Commission meeting another white Commissioner was set to leave to prevent Deke having the vote to break the tie. Apparently, the thinking was Deke would have voted to give the raises.

Has the abstentionism process become the norm for county government? What's next? Will the blacks now retaliate and not fund the Potemkin TEE Center management, maintenance and utility fees? Will the whites retaliate and defund the bus service? Are Parks, Water, Animal Control, Coroner next up for an abstention? This could be fun before everything grinds to a halt.

soapy_725
43634
Points
soapy_725 02/13/13 - 10:03 am
2
0
And the she it backs up on Doug Barnard Pkwy.
Unpublished

ARC needs a City Manager, hired not elected, with major corporate experience and a record of success. Same goes for department heads, to manage the ARC as a business. Ditch the clowns on the commission and the ring master Deke. Take the corrupt politics out of the equation.

seenitB4
84424
Points
seenitB4 02/13/13 - 10:25 am
3
7
AMEN to this

Rather, it’s a matter of what the job is worth to a crime-weary public.

It seems some can't let go of the election......now they want to punish "him" for winning.....thanks AC for putting this article on here......because it is about the JOB & not the winner.....the pay is chicken feed & that goes for the entire pay scale of RCSO...GIVE then a dang raise...they deserve it.......now come on here & blast me with your best shot!!
If we had a few lose like that guy in Calif you would be GLAD to pay them.

harley_52
22831
Points
harley_52 02/13/13 - 11:06 am
8
2
"Will the blacks now retaliate....

....and not fund the Potemkin TEE Center management, maintenance and utility fees? Will the whites retaliate and defund the bus service? Are Parks, Water, Animal Control, Coroner next up for an abstention? This could be fun before everything grinds to a halt."

"Fun," eh?

It sounds to me like you're not asking so much as hoping.

Why don't you go rabble-rouse in Columbia County and leave Richmond County alone to our own problems?

Are you a Richmond County taxpayer?

Do you vote in Richmond County?

Do you own a business in Richmond County?

Just exactly what is it that drives you to badmouth Richmond County day in and day out?

Why don't you concentrate your venom on Burke County, Taliaferro County, Vermont, Wyoming, or some other place you DON'T live?

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 02/13/13 - 11:27 am
6
1
Get What We Pay For, Let's See.......

They knew the salaries before getting the jobs. Now, let them show their worth, and if deserving of a raise.................

itsanotherday1
41432
Points
itsanotherday1 02/13/13 - 12:02 pm
6
2
Harley, some of us are

Harley, some of us are concerned because we realize Richmond County is the hub of the CSRA and what happens there impacts the whole area.

When I am out of state and people ask where I'm from, I don't say "Evans", I say "Augusta". Nobody knows where Evans is, but unless they've been under a rock, they know where Augusta is.

Secondly, I want so badly for Augusta to mirror the progresss of say, downtown Greenville, SC; and it is distressing as heck to see the political shenanigans and government incompetence standing in the way.

My wife and I enjoy going downtown to events, but the general run down look of the sidewalks and storefronts, poor lighting, etc. just don't engender a positive feeling; and it doesn't have to be that way.

I cast stones out of frustration, not malice.

harley_52
22831
Points
harley_52 02/13/13 - 12:11 pm
6
4
"I cast stones out of frustration, not malice."

And that's the way it comes across. With others, not so much.

Being "concerned" is a good thing. Mocking, making fun, deriding the citizenry, and wishing for ill is different from "concern."

Riverman1
81498
Points
Riverman1 02/13/13 - 12:30 pm
5
3
Abstentionlutingly Bizarre

I mean we have an abstentionlutingly bizarre form of government starting up. It is what it is. If I were Deke, I’d go ahead and vote even if it is 5-4 with 1 abstaining. MacKenzie wouldn’t know what to do. Larry Sconyers would stop showing up if they kept abstaining on him. He'd cut off the free BBQ, too. That would get um in line.

seenitB4
84424
Points
seenitB4 02/13/13 - 01:07 pm
4
4
Stand back please...

To keep the naysayers at bay ...I am now a part owner of a thriving business in Augusta...soooo that means I can bash--gripe--or whatever all day......she did ask that I don't disclose the name....since she RUNS the dang thing I will agree to that....soooo back off.....I want MY tax DOLLAR spent wisely...lol
My tax dollar....lol...get it!

justthefacts
21115
Points
justthefacts 02/13/13 - 01:29 pm
7
0
Hmmm

Is it a "legal" business??

seenitB4
84424
Points
seenitB4 02/13/13 - 01:46 pm
2
5
haheh JTF

I will have to say she does deal with the Judges & Lawyers almost daily...& "some" of the customers have spent some time in jail....but she is a PRO in her job.......many KNOW her wise ways....lol...ohhh boy I hope she is not reading today..hahah...I might become an ex partner B4 I know it!!!
The truth shall set you free......how true..:)

What is funny....this time ^^^ it is TRUE!

seenitB4
84424
Points
seenitB4 02/13/13 - 01:51 pm
3
2
plleeeze

Lord please forgive me and may God bless the Pygmies in New Guinea" -Larry The Cable Guy

seeyall later

mike1sc
213
Points
mike1sc 02/13/13 - 04:02 pm
5
0
A Raise?

Wow, did I just read this correctly? Been on the job.....how long? And now there is a push on to give him a raise. My my......did someone forget to tell them what the salaries were when they were out there doing all that campaigning for these jobs? So what I am gathering from the comments here is these are not performance based salaries but instead responsibility based....hum. From the voting public's standpoint, it would kind of be nice to make it both, wouldn't it?

Riverman1
81498
Points
Riverman1 02/13/13 - 05:37 pm
3
1
Cost of Roundtree's Vehicle

So now it turns out the reported cost of Roundtree's vehicle was totally wrong. Two Tahoes were bought and Tree got one. I refer everyone back to Columbia County years ago when Expeditions were bought for Whittle and all his supervisors. It was explained by the CCSO and the newspaper editorial that it was because the maintenance costs were lower.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 02/13/13 - 06:09 pm
4
1
Why does the RCS need a

Why does the RCS need a vehicle in the first place? It's been reported he doesn't drive.

Riverman1
81498
Points
Riverman1 02/13/13 - 07:59 pm
2
2
Did Ronnie Strength turn down

Did Ronnie Strength turn down cost of living raises during his term of service? I think the answer is yes. Has that created a situation that requires an immediate catch-up? It's much easier to turn down raises after the hundreds of thousands start to come in campaign contributions.

About Tree being paid for his advanced degrees previous sheriffs didn't possess, I think most jobs reward such education. Teachers get raises based on education, for instance.

Riverman1
81498
Points
Riverman1 02/13/13 - 06:42 pm
3
0
Who drives Tree around

About who drives Tree around, he should be careful. It appears women are getting mad over who is driving him.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 02/13/13 - 06:54 pm
4
1
How funny, river. The point

How funny, river. The point is, how does it work? Tree has aTahoe; the two drivers must have vehicles unless they take turns taking the Tahoe home. So how many cars does it take to move Roundtree around at taxpayer expense?

P.S. It isn't a trick question.

Riverman1
81498
Points
Riverman1 02/13/13 - 07:03 pm
2
0
Let's see...one? Right?

Let's see...one? Right?

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 02/13/13 - 07:08 pm
4
0
Mr. Roundtree made it very
Unpublished

Mr. Roundtree made it very clear when he announced that he was running for Sheriff that he depended on others for transportation. By the way, is the Tahoe white, too??

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 02/13/13 - 07:16 pm
2
0
Pretty shocking statement for

Pretty shocking statement for you, palmetto.

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 02/13/13 - 07:25 pm
3
0
I dont understand why, Ms.
Unpublished

I dont understand why, Ms. Bailey...

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 02/13/13 - 08:58 pm
2
0
Yeah, you do.

Yeah, you do.

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