20 layoffs accompany pay raises

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Cost-cutting measures by the Augusta Commission during the past week have led to 20 layoffs and the elimination of nine vacant positions.

A part of the savings was used to give pay raises to 76 employees to compensate for added responsibilities, increased workloads and more required skills.

The city workers being let go will be notified today, part of a plan to save up to $700,000 and get through 2009 without a tax rate increase, City Administrator Fred Russell said.

He said he hopes to keep four or five of them employed by moving them to other open positions, but they might earn less pay. Overall, the city has about 2,700 employees.

The cuts will come from the Richmond County Correctional Institution, the Human Relations Commission -- eliminated in its entirety in next year's budget -- and two other departments that Mr. Russell would not disclose.

"Let me emphasize," he told commissioners during a special called meeting Monday to approve a layoff policy, "they're leaving through no fault of their own, but because of budget issues."

Far more city employees are making out better.

By approving "revised job descriptions" in last week's meeting, the commission gave $228,939 in raises to 64 utilities department workers, 11 recreation workers and a tax assessor's office appraiser.

With nine empty positions simultaneously eliminated, the move saves taxpayers $123,235.

Most of the raises were in the 5 percent to 10 percent range, documents from Human Resources show. Some were higher, but still left utilities workers earning in the $20,000-$30,000 range. A cashier, for example, got a 27 percent raise, from $23,369 to $29,629 a year.

The biggest increase went to a utilities department safety officer, now titled safety training & program manager, who got a 33 percent raise to $54,500 per year.

The justification for that raise reads: "The safety program has expanded and the responsibilities have expanded and should be compensated for the additional expansion of duties and requirements."

Interim Utilities Director Drew Goins said the manager, Bernard Woods, is now doing the jobs of two people and the raise is "well-deserved."

Ten percent raises in the Recreation Department include a facilities/aquatics manager increased to $63,120 for having "seven new facilities added to responsibilities," a facilities/senior service manager increased to $60,603 for managing "all senior nutrition/wellness programs added in 2004" and an operations manager raised to $59,516 for having "twelve new parks added to responsibilities."

Mr. Russell had announced that up to 20 positions could be cut when commissioners passed a tight 2009 budget designed to stave off a tax increase.

He has said he's also hoping to come in below budget this year or next to keep taxpayers from paying hundreds of dollars more when the state Legislature eliminates the homeowner grants program.

Under the policy approved Monday, eliminated workers will be notified 60 days before the effective date, receive one month's pay, keep health insurance coverage for 90 days and be paid for 50 percent of unused sick leave, not to exceed 990 hours.

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or johnny.edwards@augustachronicle.com.

JOB CUTS

Layoffs

Eliminated positions: 20

Workers left jobless: 15 or 16

Savings: $600,000 to $700,000

JOB "RECLASSIFICATIONS"

Vacant jobs eliminated: Nine (two part-time positions)

Savings: $352,174

Raises: 76

Cost: $228,939

Net savings: $123,235

Source: City Administrator Fred Russell; documents provided by Human Resources

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whitescorpion
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whitescorpion 12/09/08 - 04:38 pm
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Justus (what an idiotic

Justus (what an idiotic handle for a freak show like you), it wouldn't make any sense cutting the African Americans loose. It is statistically a fact that black Americans make less then 12% of the U.S. population, which means from a business sense they could be paid less, and the city could save more (sad but true).

I retract for the "dead wood" comment, it was wrong.

i.b.e.w..electric
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i.b.e.w..electric 12/09/08 - 07:28 pm
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lay off twenty so 75 can get

lay off twenty so 75 can get a raise,city employees are in bad need of a UNION.

AugustaVoter
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AugustaVoter 12/09/08 - 07:52 pm
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IBEW it is called Good Ol Boy

IBEW it is called Good Ol Boy system. That is why a Union wouldn't work here. The FBI should investigate the politicians of Augusta. Then we can make the news like Illinois did for their governor.

edst4
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edst4 12/09/08 - 09:08 pm
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Boy it is amazing how posts

Boy it is amazing how posts are missing in a certain time span. Is the AC forum police at it again?

StephenChase
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StephenChase 12/09/08 - 11:56 pm
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I would bet the ones deleted

I would bet the ones deleted are likely from one the 25 former employees the Chronicle laid off last week. I've moved since being terminated from this company (23 yrs. service) so I don't really keep up with all the news but I know they terminated 25 employees a week ago. I wonder if the Chronicle reported on that or is it just the govt. workforce that constitutes news?
This company has been on a crusade in recent years releasing employee's who have dedicated their lives helping to build this "family" enterprise. They have axed 100's of years of experience with a cold heart and no regrets. This type of greed above all else is the reason our country is in the shape it's in.
Sad.

TakeAstand
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TakeAstand 12/10/08 - 12:19 am
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Those "cashiers" make more

Those "cashiers" make more than our officers... thats BS!!!

gamc30909
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gamc30909 12/10/08 - 05:22 am
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Dont know the percentage

Dont know the percentage Justus but it needs to be 58% black and 42% other. If you can not handle those numbers then change the pop percentages of the augusta area to 50/50 we know that is what you are trying to work your racial self to is that it needs to be no more than 50/50 on layoffs...bs seeing you like to play your race card it need to be the percentages of the area you are dealing with.

edst4
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edst4 12/10/08 - 07:09 am
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Steve are you sure it was not

Steve are you sure it was not a certain employee who just happens to be a steeler fan that had a part in you being let go???? I am sure you know what I am talking about.

StephenChase
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StephenChase 12/10/08 - 08:32 am
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LMAO!!! Well there's no doubt

LMAO!!!
Well there's no doubt I know what you are talking about, ed. And, apparently you do as well. Interesting that you mention the steeler fan. Is there a way you can contact me through this site? It's obvious you know me. It'd be nice to talk about old times...
What do ya' say?

StephenChase
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StephenChase 12/10/08 - 08:58 am
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I went back and looked at

I went back and looked at some of your prior posts but I still can't tell who you may be. I do know...you know...lol...and I am very interested in talking to you. I only hope you're a friendly though. If not, that's cool too, just not nearly AS cool. Take care & contact me, eh?

romosgal1980
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romosgal1980 12/10/08 - 10:19 am
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People need to verify that

People need to verify that these people are actually doing the jobs they are getting raises for. I know for a fact that several of the claims about job responsibilities of some of these individuals are not true at all.

edst4
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edst4 12/10/08 - 11:02 am
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Lets just say I have been

Lets just say I have been here for over 25 yrs when things were a lot better. The person that is the steelers fan has the other steelers fan wrapped around his finger, I have seen several long term employees leave due to this one person. I have a therory and it has worked every time whats comes around goes around. The person that was in Scott S office at one time had his time come. The short bald headed guy that use to work in Scott S group his time has come also. I get the last laugh and I am sure you will too!! P.S. Yes I am one of the good guys.

StephenChase
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StephenChase 12/10/08 - 11:26 am
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Very true...what goes around

Very true...what goes around comes around. I've seen it again and again. I've already had the last laugh. Not that it's actually a "laugh" but my life, my son's, daughter's, and wife's life has all changed for the better (with the sole exception of having to leave behind family members) . Getting out of Augusta Georgia (and away from management by threat and intimidation) is the best thing that ever happened to us. We work for good people who treat us with respect and dignity. If you've been there for 25 yrs. then it's right at the same time I began employment with the Chronicle so I know we know each other.
I do know about the people that you mentioned their "time had come". Many people from the Chronicle have kept contact with me. My curiosity is piqued. I would really like to know you are, if you don't mind. Feel free to e-mail me at stevechase7@comcast.net if you would like. It would be great to catch up on old times with you. I promise to keep your identity confidential.

disssman
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disssman 12/10/08 - 07:03 pm
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Oh how wrong you are

Oh how wrong you are AUGUSTAVOTER. If these folks had a union then Fred and the Commissioners would have a heck of a time explaining their actions to a court appointed Arbitrator. And they would have to insure their Budget figures were correct and feasible. For instance Freds Budget assumes a gas cost of $2.50 A gallon and I believe the actual cost has been far less than 80% of that for the last 6 - 8 weeks. I wonder if this is a way to save money for his little darling Non-Profits so he can restore their funding around Mar 09 when we will magically have an excess of funds. I just wonder what functions these folks actually did. In any event, if you are a county employee and you want a say in your job security then UNIONIZE if you could care less for your familys security then stay as you are, a no-body, to be used as management sees fit.

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