Originally created 07/10/02

Questions answered



QUESTIONS ANSWERED

Q: What's next?

A: District Attorney Danny Craig said he expects there will be one more interim presentment and a final report from the special grand jury before it disbands, possibly within 30 days.

Q: Are there any criminal charges in the report?

A: No, but grand jurors said their investigations uncovered a number of illegal practices, including hiding checks from the city's finance department, fraudulent moving expenses when Chief Ronnie Few accepted the Augusta job, discrimination within department training programs, and unfair pay raises and evaluations.

Q: Does the report suggest any type of action?

A: There are several suggestions, including 13 recommendations dealing with everything from training and promotions to the suggestion that Deputy Fire Chief Carl Scott be relieved of his duties.

Q: What are the problems outlined in the report?

A: They center on the Augusta Fire Department and describe longstanding practices of unfair promotions, questionable payouts and politically motivated leadership.

Q: Is there a bigger issue?

A: The grand jurors say the importance of their report is not what it reveals about former Fire Chief Ronnie Few but "what it exposes about our government, its politicians and our community as a whole."

Q: Where is Ronnie Few now?

A: In May, he resigned as Washington fire chief, effective July 31. News reporters in Washington say he has not been in town for weeks. Earlier this year, however, he purchased a home in Columbia County, which he called an investment.

Q: Why was the special grand jury formed?

A: In November 1999, a regular grand jury complained it did not have enough time to adequately investigate local problems and recommended a special grand jury be convened.

Q: Who are the special grand jury members?

A: The 23-member special grand jury was empaneled in December 1999. It consists of 10 women and 13 men; nine are black, and 14 are white. It is the first Richmond County special grand jury anyone can remember.

The following 15 people signed their names to the interim presentment as members of the Special Grand Jury November 1999 term:

Carol R. Wilson

Sharron H. Martin

Larry G. Clark

Patricia M. Poston

Frank A. Stafford

Lakeshia Dozier

Paul B. Bailey

James L. Guinan

Wendy Cross Thompson

Delories N. Jones

Arthur W. Wiggins Jr.

Robert J. Polk Jr.

Malissa W. Collins

Myra L. Clark

Ann C. Stalnaker

Q: What have they done?

A: Over the past 2 1/2 years, grand jurors have released seven presentments on city government ranging from a study of the city's risk management costs to its most scathing January 2001 report, which targeted Augusta commissioners, accusing them of divisiveness, incompetence and practicing micromanagement.




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