Originally created 10/20/06

GM race is down to 3



The former Augusta civic center general manager who was fired after a "complete breakdown" in management at a religious conference held there in 2002 remains in the running for the arena's top job.

Reggie Williams was one of three who made the final cut Thursday for the next general manager of the James Brown Arena. Mr. Williams will be given an up-or-down vote by the Coliseum Authority early in November, according to management search committee chairman Bernard Harper.

He said the two other finalists for the job are John A. Anderson, a former city administrator for Monroe, La., who also oversaw the civic center there, and Robert "Flash" Gordon, a local record store owner and promoter.

Andrew Matthey, an arena consultant from Cincinnati, was knocked out after interviews Thursday afternoon.

After nearly four months of consideration, authority members are close to filling the spot vacated by Larry Rogers, who resigned in May and subsequently was let go by the board before his notice had expired.

But the group of finalists that will be brought to the full board next month wasn't originally the search committee's top choice.

Authority members scrambled to keep the search process in tact after two of the original finalists backed out because they had taken other jobs. Mr. Gordon and Mr. Williams were called in rather than begin the search process again, authority members said.

After his interview, Mr. Williams, who sued the Coliseum Authority alleging breach of contract and lost wages, said he has put what happened with the past board behind him.

"A lot of those people aren't there anymore," he said. And when asked why he would want to return to what is considered such a politicized job, he said, "Bottom line, facility management is what I love doing."

Mr. Harper, who was on the board in 2002 but not in the majority that voted to fire him, said the action might have been brash.

Mr. Anderson comes from a community where the civic center has suffered through issues similar to Augusta.

After serving as a city manager in Monroe, he headed the department responsible for the Monroe Civic Center. It also has struggled to book top acts with its aging building and secondary entertainment market.

Mr. Gordon declined to commen, but Authority Chairman Harry Moore said he had a strong interview and demonstrated he had the industry contacts to handle the job.

Reach Justin Boron at (706) 823-3215 or justin.boron@augustachronicle.com.