Your tax dollars at play

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If you're concerned that the city of Augusta legal department's offices are furnished with just a few upturned milk crates and bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling, don't worry. The offices look great.

At least on paper.

Finance records show that the Augusta Law Department ran up almost $5,000 in expenses on its Sam's Club account in 2009 that included silk trees, air purifiers, snacks galore, assorted objets d'art -- oh, and office supplies.

All this, mind you, while other city departments are adding notches to their financial belts just so they can tighten them even further in this down economy.

The legal department spent more money at Sam's than any other city department except for the Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division, which has had to purchase needed equipment such as cameras and video recorders.

Part of the law office's "needed equipment," apparently, includes not one but two Keurig Ultimate Single-Serving Coffee Systems. They cost way upwards of $100 apiece. That's more than $100 of your money, taxpayers. Drink up.

The person in charge of the Law Department is General Counsel Chiquita Johnson, who was upbraided by commissioners last month for trying to engineer a naked power grab that would have given her and her office unprecedented legal authority.

That rubbed many Augusta commissioners the wrong way. What must they think now after learning of the Sam's Club expenses? Or after learning that Ms. Johnson was fired from a previous job at the state Department of Public Safety for racking up inappropriate expenses of clothes, groceries and items from the Home Shopping Network on her American Express corporate card?

Many of the Sam's purchases were frivolous, if not utterly needless. And Johnson now may find herself in deeper hot water -- hotter than any expensively brewed coffee.

Comments (41) Add comment
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omnomnom
3964
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omnomnom 01/01/10 - 07:40 pm
0
0
its a bit early for

its a bit early for Saturday's editorial. Man, I thought I'd slept through the first day of 2010!

Junket831
0
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Junket831 01/01/10 - 09:38 pm
0
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The bigger question ACES is

The bigger question ACES is why ANY government office needs public funds to purchase a coffee machine, snacks or any other food item. This should be justified as needed for business purposes and not for the benefit of employees to consume. For example, the Mayor's office may need an expense account for entertaining dignitaries or potential economic partners. However, if employees or elected official are purchasing for personal consumption then they should buy it themselves like the rest of us must do.

Dixieman
16595
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Dixieman 01/01/10 - 10:17 pm
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Goodbye Chiquita

Goodbye Chiquita

johnston.cliff
2
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johnston.cliff 01/02/10 - 04:05 am
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Ms Johnson's job placement

Ms Johnson's job placement and retention doesn't seem to have much to do with her qualifications. Hopefully, whoever was keeping her "on the job" is no longer in power.

concernednative
28
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concernednative 01/02/10 - 06:31 am
0
0
How many of you don't have a

How many of you don't have a coffee maker and coffee provided at your job. I know the ACES doesn't like Chiquita but don't go over board with these lame editorials everyday. You will make her into a victim and she will never get fired which she deserves for incompetenance not a $100 coffee pot that all employers have and the city's HR dept needs some serious training. If they didn't even know about her firing they do very poor background checks on a person that is going to have a lot of authority in the county govt.

grinder48
2039
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grinder48 01/02/10 - 06:43 am
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0
I can't understand how a
Unpublished

I can't understand how a person like c johnson gets hired in the first place. Without a doubt she should be fired. And without all the total BS that went on with that Few idiot who was fire chief and that Smith xitch who was engineer. But beyond that, someone in HR needs to be held accountable ... and possibly beyond that if HR was pressured into hiring johnson.

joekm46
0
Points
joekm46 01/02/10 - 08:03 am
0
0
na na na na, na na na na, hey

na na na na, na na na na, hey hey, goodbye! and good riddance!!! Chiquita

joekm46
0
Points
joekm46 01/02/10 - 08:05 am
0
0
Sweep the crooks out! Lets

Sweep the crooks out! Lets clean up Augusta, starting with the government first.

disssman
6
Points
disssman 01/02/10 - 08:21 am
0
0
Now I know why she has never

Now I know why she has never updated the city code that her office is responsible for. And as long as we are being upset, could someone on the commission explain the private gas cards again?

Riverman1
90742
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Riverman1 01/02/10 - 08:22 am
0
0
Grinder makes a good point.

Grinder makes a good point. Her hiring should be examined thoroughly due to her past employment troubles. In addition, her farming out of legal work to attorneys in Atlanta should be scrutinized. That wasn't the thinking when she was hired.

fred1217
4
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fred1217 01/02/10 - 08:31 am
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0
Propaganda is a form of

Propaganda is a form of communication aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position. As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda in its most basic sense, presents information primarily to influence an audience. Propaganda often presents facts selectively to encourage a particular synthesis, or uses loaded messages to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the attitude toward the subject in the target audience to further a political agenda.

deekster
24
Points
deekster 01/02/10 - 08:40 am
0
0
great fred!!! that's all we

great fred!!! that's all we get. we must be Russia.

fred1217
4
Points
fred1217 01/02/10 - 08:40 am
0
0
My above 8:31 post is from

My above 8:31 post is from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda . After reading today's Editorial, it came to mind.

johnsdad
1
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johnsdad 01/02/10 - 09:00 am
0
0
Goodbye banana, when you are

Goodbye banana, when you are going out with the trash, be sure to take Sams with you---wouldn't hurt for you to take dust bunny Russel with you!

dani
12
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dani 01/02/10 - 09:04 am
0
0
"Single serving" coffee

"Single serving" coffee maker? No sharing in that office.

johnsdad
1
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johnsdad 01/02/10 - 09:08 am
0
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nativeboy, yes, we had a

nativeboy, yes, we had a coffee pot, coffee, and snacks---which were all paid for by the individuals who used them and consumed them. Only a member of the entitlement crowd would think it right for tax payer funded entities to use tax dollars for personal benefit. You get your monthly stripend yet?

Riverman1
90742
Points
Riverman1 01/02/10 - 09:20 am
0
0
Heck, teachers can't even

Heck, teachers can't even plug in their own coffee pots in Richmond Cty due to concerns about the light bill.

brimisjoshan
2
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brimisjoshan 01/02/10 - 09:29 am
0
0
This chick definately needs

This chick definately needs to go bye bye and she will. But lets face it this would not be a big deal anywhere else. I mean $5000 is really a small amount for a whole year. What I am saying is that it is not like she bought these things to sell on the street or something. The real reason that this is an issue is because the Commissioners are tired of her other spending habits by spending over 40,000 on outside counsel fees and because she tried a big power move to gain for herself and department. She is gone but not because of buying snacks and stuff for the office.

halffull
0
Points
halffull 01/02/10 - 09:43 am
0
0
fred 8:31 post makes some

fred 8:31 post makes some great points especially as it relates to selectivity and timing. These Sam's purchases seems unjustifiable but one question comes to mind, isn't this a new office? Are there ways others can accomplish the same misappropriations without the traceable Sam's card. All other questions about the hiring or her relationship with commissioners seems like legitimate reasons to debate. What makes this editorial, opinions, and past posts suspect is when you reduce your argument to $100.00 coffee pot. It comes off like fred's propaganda.

JohnQPublic
5
Points
JohnQPublic 01/02/10 - 09:53 am
0
0
Huh? The citizens of Augusta

Huh? The citizens of Augusta being "fleeced" by an attorney? Imagine that!

JohnQPublic
5
Points
JohnQPublic 01/02/10 - 09:58 am
0
0
Heck no! My job does not

Heck no! My job does not provide a coffee maker or anything like that! I use a travel cup and take the remainder of the coffee from my own coffee make at home. Waste not, want not.

JohnQPublic
5
Points
JohnQPublic 01/02/10 - 09:59 am
0
0
Hey, how much is that big ARC

Hey, how much is that big ARC employee Christmas party costing us?

JohnQPublic
5
Points
JohnQPublic 01/02/10 - 10:01 am
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0
Sure can, halfull. Anyone

Sure can, halfull. Anyone need gastric bypass surgery?

usafvet
3
Points
usafvet 01/02/10 - 10:04 am
0
0
The argument isn't about a

The argument isn't about a $100.00 coffee pot, or even the second one that is probably in her home. It is about the idiots that recommended her and hired her to start with. She had a suspect background, ill prepared, and a product of "reverse" discrimination. We taxpayers in Richmond County have been ripped off and continue to be ripped off by idiots that cannot even manage their personal affairs, much less a budget the size of ours. This city will never survive until the undesirable elements are taken care of.

brimisjoshan
2
Points
brimisjoshan 01/02/10 - 10:07 am
0
0
Let us continue to keep each

Let us continue to keep each of the county employees and elected officials accountable for what they do with our money! They work for us! WE DIGRESS when we limit this to a coffee pot or snacks. This woman has an attitude that says I can spend what I want how I want. She wanted power that has never been given to one person in our county government. The commissioners will now have to act on our behalf and fire the lady. Good posts people!

smartie
0
Points
smartie 01/02/10 - 10:13 am
0
0
i think the verdicts already

i think the verdicts already in on this fruitcake. keep the pressure on, ac. get her gone. i'd love to see how she'd fare in a private practice. i most imagine she'd wind up with a broom in one hand and a dustpan in the other.

ICSunshine
0
Points
ICSunshine 01/02/10 - 10:17 am
0
0
smartie, perhaps she could

smartie, perhaps she could put those skills to use in a Gordon Hwy ho-tel no-tell within sight of the X-Mart to give her a constant reminder.

brimisjoshan
2
Points
brimisjoshan 01/02/10 - 10:37 am
0
0
Unfortunately, she will

Unfortunately, she will probably go to some other place to be hired because they will not do a proper background check and because she will resign as long as they give her a general recomendation.

johnsdad
1
Points
johnsdad 01/02/10 - 10:52 am
0
0
Affirmative action is a geat

Affirmative action is a geat tool if you want to hire incompetents!

brimisjoshan
2
Points
brimisjoshan 01/02/10 - 10:59 am
0
0
Now lets don't bring race

Now lets don't bring race into it...this has nothing to do with race just a person with an attitude of theivery.

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