Originally created 09/26/03

Panel keeps grade plan



When City Administrator George Kolb is evaluated later this year, it won't be based on what he's accomplished. It will reflect what elected officials think he's accomplished.

And going on last year's evaluations, it's clear that some Augusta commissioners don't think much of the government's chief executive.

An Augusta Commission subcommittee voted Thursday to use the same evaluation used last year to review Mr. Kolb, even though he has called it a subjective and biased document.

Without a set of goals against which to measure the administrator's work, elected leaders said the old, if flawed, evaluation was their only option.

"The scoring ... while it reflects personal opinions, does not reflect performance, which is why it's weak," said Commissioner Andy Cheek, a member of the subcommittee studying Mr. Kolb's evaluation.

The subcommittee was formed earlier this month, after the administrator objected to using the same document used to evaluate him in 2002.

"This is more like a customer survey," Mr. Cheek said.

Last year, some commissioners appeared to be pretty unhappy customers.

Anonymous evaluation sheets show that, on average, Mr. Kolb was ranked at the lowest end of the scale in nearly every category by two or three commissioners, while one commissioner consistently ranked him on the highest end.

Commissioners never voted last year to set specific performance measures for Mr. Kolb, which means that for the second year in a row, his annual evaluation will be rooted in several general categories, such as job competency, quality of work and respect for authority.

"I don't think we can change in the middle of the stream," Commissioner Marion Williams, one of Mr. Kolb's most vocal detractors, said Thursday.

Mr. Kolb said he won't take much stock in the scores he receives this year, partly because the commission panel also voted to develop a new, goal-based evaluation form before March. The full commission must approve that recommendation.

"It won't be something that I would consider being rated on for what I've achieved," Mr. Kolb said. "It will be a basis for how to set performance objectives for the coming year."

But that's next year.

And his work contract comes up for renewal at the end of this year. Commissioners are required to give him three months' notice, by Dec. 31, if his contract is not renewed.

"If it's dealt with as a discussion point, the grade won't matter," Mr. Kolb said. "Hopefully."

Reach Heidi Coryell Williams at (706) 823-3215 or heidi.williams@augustachronicle.com.