Originally created 09/05/01

Kolb wins delay on staff decision, salary increase



The city has turned what Augusta Administrator George Kolb considers a personnel issue into a personal issue. So on Tuesday, he asked for time to set the record straight.

Augusta commissioners unanimously voted to postpone making any decisions about a deputy administrator position, which Mr. Kolb is seeking to fill at $95,000 a year. An agenda item to raise the salaries of key city employees beginning next year also was delayed.

"There needs to be more time to educate the community about the organizational structure of the government when consolidation first formed," Mr. Kolb said, referring to consolidation plans that showed three deputy administrators working under the city administrator. Currently, only one deputy works in the administrator's office.

"There needs to be more awareness of what these deputies mean," he said.

Before Tuesday's full commission meeting, the administrative services committee sent forward a recommendation in favor of adjusting the pay grades of 46 city department heads and assistant department heads beginning next year.

A request from Mr. Kolb to hire a deputy administrator at a salary of $95,000 also was set to be discussed.

But Mr. Kolb told commissioners he needs more time to convince the community of the need for the new position. The delay also will allow time for commissioners to buy into the process of restructuring city employees' salaries.

"It's a major step for (city government), and the commission is not ready," Mr. Kolb said.

The pay adjustment plan would give raises to 25 city directors and assistant directors and would cost more than $200,000 to fund next year - nearly $160,000 of which would have to come from the city's general fund.

The deputy administrator slot, for which Mr. Kolb has selected a former colleague from Richmond, Va., would be in charge of public safety-related departments.

Mr. Kolb said his office, in cooperation with the city's Department of Human Resources, will continue to look at a salary study for high-ranking city employees as the commission moves into talks about the 2002 budget year.

"We need to cross-reference it against the budget," Commissioner Andy Cheek said. "We're about to get into budget season, and we need to look at these salaries as part of that."

Reach Heidi Coryell at (706) 823-3215.