Originally created 10/17/01

Commission ponders new agencies



Instead of sending city work to private contractors, Augusta commissioners discussed at length the possibility of creating in-house departments as two contracts came up for renewal Tuesday: one for the maintenance of city vehicles and the other for internal auditing.

But the city has yet to fill several existing government positions - including those of a fleet manager, finance director and fire chief - much less find employees for not-yet-created departments.

Both the maintenance and auditor's contract were renewed by the narrowest of margins, with Mayor Bob Young getting the rare chance to break tie votes on both motions.

"We ought to be getting the best service for our tax dollars," Commissioner Marion Williams said. He has said that instead of renewing the city's contract for vehicle maintenance, the operation should be managed by the city's fleet management department.

Commissioner Jerry Brigham said he has been pushing since last year to hire an in-house internal auditor.

A fire chief position has been open since April, when Chief Bernard Mack resigned after three months on the job. A finance director position has been empty since January, when commissioners fired Comptroller Lon Morrey.

City Administrator George Kolb said he has a list of candidates for the fire chief's job narrowed to five, all of whom he has interviewed in person during the past few months. He expects to have a finalist list in the coming weeks.

But the finance director's position is being advertised for a third time, after a second search yielded only a handful of qualified candidates.

"I normally take my time when I'm looking to fill positions of that importance," Mr. Kolb said.

Reach Heidi Coryell Williams at (706) 823-3215.

Augusta commissioners may create two new city departments instead of contracting for vehicle maintenance and internal auditing.