Originally created 09/05/97

Incumbent protection



On Tuesday the Augusta Commission put its stamp of approval on the bungling of a reasonable request for a leave of absence without pay.

Politics got involved because the request comes from fireman L.A. Williams -- an announced opponent of Commissioner Rob Zetterberg.

Williams asked for just a couple of weeks off before the September candidate qualifying period. He says the fire chief and the director of human resources gave him an initial OK. But they later said "no" and were ultimately backed by seven commissioners. (Zetterberg abstained.)

It is true the government's policy manual says such leave should be granted at qualifying time but, as Commissioner Ulmer Bridges argues, the manual is a leftover from the old days when qualifying began in April! Bridges concludes -- and we agree -- that "most commissioners want to make it as difficult as possible for anyone" -- especially one of their own employees -- to mount a November challenge.