Originally created 02/26/03

Workers pass lie test

Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority members' efforts to find out which of two employees lied about running a forklift into a co-worker's car failed when both passed a polygraph test.

In January, the board voted to pay $250 per exam to test the two employees.

Both employees had used the forklift the day the car was damaged, and both denied striking the vehicle, but only one initially agreed to take a polygraph test. A day later, the other employee said he, too, would take the test.

On Tuesday, acting civic center Manager Linda Roberts told the board that both had taken lie-detector tests and passed.

After the meeting, board member Bill Maddox, who had insisted the employees be given polygraphs, said he didn't accept the results.

"I don't understand that," he said. "The man only asked them three questions. Most of the time when you take a polygraph test, they ask you about 10 before you ever get into the main body.

"The only questions he asked them is, 'Did you bump the car? Do you know who did?' I mean, it was the ... simplest thing. I just disagree with his methods. Somebody done it. The police investigated, and the paint off the car was on the forklift they were driving."

Mr. Maddox said that in his experience as Augusta's fire chief, he had never known a polygraph test to fail.

"I think one of them did it," he said.

Board member Fred Reed Jr. said he accepted the results.

"They're not admissible in court in Georgia, anyway," he said. "The board seemed like they wanted to have it done. I guess it made them feel better."

Mr. Reed said he did object to the board's paying the $250 deductible on the employee's damaged car.

"I wouldn't have given her a nickel," he said. "I have to pay my deductible and any other expenses that are on me."

Failing a polygraph is not grounds for firing, but a notice would have been placed in the worker's employment file if he had failed.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or sylviaco@augustachronicle.com.


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