Dousing the firestorm

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Tornadoes and hurricanes are highly destructive forces, but at least they're seasonal.

Political firestorms, on the other hand, bring their own form of destruction - and they know no particular season, at least in Augusta.

The firing of former Public Works Director Teresa Smith became just such a firestorm in 2005, with racially charged and heated Augusta Commission proceedings that hang in the city hall air to this day.

In recent months, some Augusta commissioners, perhaps as a payback for Smith's firing, tried to unearth enough dirt to get longtime parks and recreation head Tom Beck fired. The best they could manage was a short suspension and yearlong probation.

Then, another firestorm whipped up when city staff attorney Vanessa Flournoy was found to be using her county computer for a side business doing real estate closings. She has resigned with a severance package.

Now, her boss - City Attorney Eugene Jessup - has been asked to resign by commissioners who only four months ago hired him.

Along the way, Commissioner Calvin Holland appointed himself city supervisor and recently demanded the hard drive of city Administrator Fred Russell while Russell was on vacation - again, for all appearances a thinly veiled tit-for-tat for the Flournoy hard drive dust-up.

Holland was censured by his colleagues, but now Commissioner Marion Williams is taking up for Holland and taking off after Russell.

Let's cut to the chase: If the Augusta Commission were your human resources manager, you'd fire it summarily for its utter failure to hire and fire properly and to bring stability and professionalism to the workplace.

Wait a minute! The commission is your human resources manager.

Time to fire the commission, at least from its hiring and firing role, which it has completely fouled up.

City employees, in particular department heads, need to know whom they report to. And they shouldn't be able to hold onto jobs merely because they've garnered the favor of five or six of the 10 commissioners. Serving at the pleasure of a political group makes personnel decisions political ones. That's messy and inefficient and rewards political prowess over work station competence.

It's time to change the government charter to give the city administrator hiring and firing authority. Bring more professionalism, and less politics, to city hall.

If you had the key to preventing tornadoes and hurricanes, you'd use it, wouldn't you?

Doesn't the same go for political firestorms?

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patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 05/09/07 - 05:14 am
0
0
Why does the Augusta/Richmond

Why does the Augusta/Richmond County Commissioners not have a clear and well defined leader that can coordinate their actions? Shouldn't all action taken by a commissioner go through the Mayor or Mayor pro tem? Why are there so many chiefs? If the merger charter laid down a pecking order, who is supposed to inforce it? Right now, this 'clamor of clowns' is doing a great impersonation of a chicken with its head cut off. HOW ABOUT SOME ORGANIZATION? Would the real leader please stand up and act?

Da Voice Inside Your Head
7
Points
Da Voice Inside Your Head 05/09/07 - 06:09 am
0
0
That's the problem. The one

That's the problem. The one who is suppossed to be in charge is too busy trying not to offend anyone. That leaves Dumb & Dumber (Williams and Holland) wide open to run amuck. The rest of the commissioners are just as bad. Two guys should not be running the show! It's time the other commissioners and his honor the Mayor show some leadership and resolve and kick D&D into line. The ones who are going to hollar racism will do it anyway. Might as well give them something to hollar about.

Carleton Duvall
6305
Points
Carleton Duvall 05/09/07 - 06:26 am
0
0
The problem is not the Mayor.

The problem is not the Mayor. The problem is the city/county charter. It gives the Mayor no authority. Leadership will go just so far and without authority is lost when dealing with mavericks like Williams et al.

sjgraci
2
Points
sjgraci 05/09/07 - 08:54 am
0
0
Augusta Chronicle- "Serving

Augusta Chronicle- "Serving at the pleasure of a political group makes personnel decisions political ones. That's messy and inefficient and rewards political prowess over work station competence." I agree. Now the question is do you hold the same standard when it comes to the US Attorney firings? I think we already know the answer. And that, makes you political hacks.

Carleton Duvall
6305
Points
Carleton Duvall 05/09/07 - 09:52 am
0
0
Sigraci- WHAT?

Sigraci- WHAT?

polyman
0
Points
polyman 05/09/07 - 11:09 am
0
0
This is the reason I moved

This is the reason I moved out of Richmond County, and why thousands of others have as well. The government is a JOKE!! No professionalism, no ethics, no integrity. The county commissioners are shuffling chairs around on the decks of the Titanic. Those commissioners need to look around at the growth, progress, and forward thinking of the counties all around them, and ask "why can't we do that?". The reason is, quite simply, the incompetence of the elected officials of Richmond County.

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