Originally created 06/18/04

Coliseum Authority meets to discuss raises, budget



Members of the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority informally agreed Thursday to give a $5,000 raise to civic center General Manager Larry Rogers and a 3 percent increase to other employees.

The raises were discussed during a budget committee meeting on next year's proposed $1.66 million budget, which includes a projected $653,245 deficit. This year's $1.68 million spending plan had a $540,518 deficit, Mr. Rogers said.

Revenues at the civic center complex have declined steadily in recent years, prompting member Joe Scott to call for more active recruiting by civic center staff. "We can't just wait for people to call us," he said. "We have to make some effort to bring people in."

Some members countered by saying that shows do come to the facility. A June 25 rhythm and blues concert was canceled Wednesday because of poor ticket sales.

Mr. Rogers and authority members refused to allow media at Thursday's meeting because they said the budget would not be official until the full board approves it Tuesday. Mr. Rogers told authority members he included his 7 percent pay increase based on what was paid to his predecessor.

"When I came here I agreed to come for the salary that I did, and that was about $12,151 cheaper than the one that was here before and obviously wasn't doing the job because he's not here," he said.

"I said a raise to $70,000 a year was a fair increase based on the performance and the job that I've done, and I feel like I've done a good job."

Budget committee Chairman Billy Holden said, however, that the authority could not set salaries based on what the previous companies that managed the facility paid.

Reggie Williams, the last permanent general manager the authority had, was being paid $77,000 a year when he was fired in June 2002. Mr. Williams came to Augusta as an employee of Leisure Management International and also worked for SMG and the authority.

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