Originally created 11/18/96

No coerced donations



Augusta Fire Chief Bill Maddox defends the urban fire department's "long-standing practice" of deducting money from firefighter's paychecks for charity, while denying any improprieties regarding a $1,600 donation from that fund funneled to an Augusta commissioner's pet project.

Commissioner Moses Todd is angry over the donation to fellow Commissioner Henry Brigham's Project Success tutorial program, but the chief denies politics are involved.

Maybe politics were involved, maybe not. The point is that at least some firefighters sincerely feel "their" donations were channeled to a United Way charity not of their choosing.

That situation, however, can be remedied.

Augusta United Way President Keith Benson says a disgruntled employee who feels his employer coerced a UW donation, or directed it to an agency not of that employee's liking, may discreetly come to the UW office to seek a refund.

In fact, such an employee (in this case, a ruffled firefighter) could re-designate where his money should go toward a worthwhile cause.