Augusta's city attorney to resign; will get severance package

Monday, Jan. 4, 2010 1:52 PM
Last updated 9:35 PM
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Augusta General Counsel Chiquita Johnson has signed an agreement to resign in exchange for a severance package, City Administrator Fred Russell confirmed.

She signed the paperwork around 4:30 p.m. today, and her resignation will be effective at 9 a.m. Tuesday, he said.

Mr. Russell said he would not provide a copy of the document until after he puts it before the Augusta Commission, which will likely vote to accept her resignation at Tuesday’s meeting. Under her contract, Ms. Johnson is entitled to six months’ pay if she’s terminated, and Mr. Russell would not say what she was offered beyond that. She earns $125,000 per year.

Several commissioners have raised questions about Ms. Johnson and the city's legal department in the past month. One issue was her department’s spending on a Sam’s Club card, detailed in a report by The Chronicle last week.

City commissioners, such as Joe Jackson, responded angrily when told Augusta's Law Department had run up nearly $5,000 on a Sam's Club account this year, with purchases that included silk trees, paintings and lots of snacks.

According to finance records from Jan. 1 to Dec. 16, reviewed by The Chronicle under an open records request, the $4,897 spent by Ms. Johnson's department was the highest debt incurred on any account except the sheriff's office's Criminal Investigation Division and the Recreation & Parks Department, which has multiple Sam's Club cards to buy concessions for sale.

While CID employees purchased equipment that included cameras and video recorders, Ms. Johnson's Sam's Club card was used to buy $673 in silk trees, $641 in office fans and air-sanitizing systems, $254 in Keurig coffee makers, a $219 water cooler appliance and a $197 painting. It was also used for candy, juices, sodas, coffee cake and office supplies, such as pens, file folders and a $243 shredder.

Mr. Jackson told the newspaper he was livid that a law department with a small staff was spending thousands of dollars on amenities while the rest of the city was pinching pennies. He said he has been more upset, though, to learn through his own research that Ms. Johnson has spent more than $60,000 for Atlanta law firm Freeman, Mathis & Gary to handle airport matters when the budget for that was $18,000.

Ms. Johnson did not return a call seeking comment about her office expenses.

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Ayetidiosi
2
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Ayetidiosi 01/04/10 - 02:53 pm
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Good call, Ms. Johnson.

Good call, Ms. Johnson.

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 01/04/10 - 02:56 pm
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Don't slip on a Banana peel

Don't slip on a Banana peel on the way out.
The city needs to get rid of the in house law dept and contract with a local firm.

Brad Owens
4281
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Brad Owens 01/04/10 - 03:10 pm
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Told ya. Brad

Told ya. Brad

Notreally
4
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Notreally 01/04/10 - 03:12 pm
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Augusta to BACKWARDS for her

Augusta to BACKWARDS for her forward thinking personality. Best wishes somewhere else in a bigger, better and LESS racial city make up. *SHRUGS*

ICSunshine
0
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ICSunshine 01/04/10 - 03:13 pm
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I wonder how much her Atlanta

I wonder how much her Atlanta firm is gonna bill the city to write the resignation notice.....

dominionfs
0
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dominionfs 01/04/10 - 03:16 pm
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Unfortunately, Chiquita's

Unfortunately, Chiquita's resignation will be with the understanding that no investigation be conducted into her misdeeds and no negative information be released by the city. This will enable her to be hired as in-house counsel to another city to continue her abuse of tax-payer money.

Roeschen
1
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Roeschen 01/04/10 - 03:16 pm
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Notreally - Seems to me she

Notreally - Seems to me she created her own problems. You would think that with all of her "education", she would have learned something by now. Obvioulsly, she thought she could continue her old habits here and no one would be the wiser.

convertedsoutherner
2
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convertedsoutherner 01/04/10 - 03:17 pm
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'Forward thinking' must be

'Forward thinking' must be code words for the lib fawning followers. And of course fruity makes another news article racist. fruity never fails to come through with his race baiting.

AnotherPerspective
0
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AnotherPerspective 01/04/10 - 03:21 pm
0
0
As a taxpayer, my question is

As a taxpayer, my question is will the commission have the guts to put the end to payouts for employees who fail to perform their job. Or, is the "resignation," coming with money attached?

AnotherPerspective
0
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AnotherPerspective 01/04/10 - 03:21 pm
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As a taxpayer, my question is

As a taxpayer, my question is will the commission have the guts to put the end to payouts for employees who fail to perform their job. Or, is the "resignation," coming with money attached?

dani
12
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dani 01/04/10 - 03:26 pm
0
0
Notreally - REALLY made my

Notreally - REALLY made my day. I needed a good laugh.

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 01/04/10 - 03:27 pm
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Notreally. Re: your

Notreally. Re: your 2:12post. Not really.

Just My Opinion
5454
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Just My Opinion 01/04/10 - 03:34 pm
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dominionfs, it doesn't really

dominionfs, it doesn't really matter about the negative information thing, if that's true and it probably is. If someone were to call the city of Augusta personnel dept, asking for a reference, all they'd have to say is "Ms. Johnson resigned."..and if asked if she would be qualified for re-hire, the answer would be "No, Ms. Johnson is not qualified for re-hire at any point in the future.". That is not negative and is flatly matter of fact, and without opinion.

ICSunshine
0
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ICSunshine 01/04/10 - 03:50 pm
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JMO, who knows? It might be a

JMO, who knows? It might be a law firm that likes an aesthetically pleasing lobby and good coffee......

JackBootedThug
0
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JackBootedThug 01/04/10 - 03:57 pm
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Fire her sorry butt and DO

Fire her sorry butt and DO NOT pay her a severance package! Paying this person severance is about as bad as her spending money the way she did. Either way, the taxpayer (ME!) pays!

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 01/04/10 - 04:00 pm
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Banana Flambe

Banana Flambe

ICSunshine
0
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ICSunshine 01/04/10 - 04:14 pm
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JMO, back to your 2:34pm for

JMO, back to your 2:34pm for a minute. I would HOPE anybody considering hiring an attorney would do a simple google name search, that would be the end of it right there.

ICSunshine
0
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ICSunshine 01/04/10 - 04:15 pm
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Maybe Betty Beard will loan

Maybe Betty Beard will loan her a house to live in....

gargoyle
15937
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gargoyle 01/04/10 - 04:24 pm
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One of the hobby's listed on

One of the hobby's listed on her resume was interior decorating , another highlighted was travel ... Apparently she found a way to mix business with pleasure by getting kicked to the curb by a Gov. agency every few years she'll get to travel and redo a new office on the taxpayers dime

ICSunshine
0
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ICSunshine 01/04/10 - 04:27 pm
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lol gargoyle, nice!

lol gargoyle, nice!

Dixieman
14334
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Dixieman 01/04/10 - 04:38 pm
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What will we do for

What will we do for entertainment now? I am heartbroken...

SeeYa
13
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SeeYa 01/04/10 - 04:38 pm
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Just don't let the door hit

Just don't let the door hit your butt on the way out, Ms.Banana.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
7353
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ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 01/04/10 - 04:42 pm
0
0
Hmm a bruised Banana! Sounds

Hmm a bruised Banana! Sounds like it's time for some Banana Nut Bread!!

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 01/04/10 - 04:50 pm
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How is that Don Grantham is

How is that Don Grantham is always the person to release this kind of information? Shouldn't the mayor be the one have made a statement? What are we paying Deke for? Everyone knows that Grantham is the Boss Hogg and runs the show.

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 01/04/10 - 04:51 pm
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0
She'll probably get 9 months

She'll probably get 9 months pay to get her to leave, too.

Riverman1
82158
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Riverman1 01/04/10 - 04:52 pm
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She is going to get a $100

She is going to get a $100 THOUSAND severance package.

Riverman1
82158
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Riverman1 01/04/10 - 04:54 pm
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Make that $94 thousand.

Make that $94 thousand.

404Law
226
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404Law 01/04/10 - 04:57 pm
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AUGUSTA, Please prepare

AUGUSTA, Please prepare yourself for another lawsuit. Trust me, this time you will pay out a lot more than what it would have costed the city to keep Ms. Johnson employeed. And, why? Because public officials in Augusta are all too willing to open their mouths to fill the pages of hungry, story-starved columnists in a mid-major city. When will this city learn...

RichmondCountyResident1
29
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RichmondCountyResident1 01/04/10 - 04:58 pm
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I'm sure she'll miss leaving

I'm sure she'll miss leaving such loving city. I'll bet everyone of her detractors is of the opposite race. Whodathunkit!!! Good Luck Mrs. Johnson, I know you'll be OK.

ICSunshine
0
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ICSunshine 01/04/10 - 05:08 pm
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If it's only $94,000 that was

If it's only $94,000 that was money well spent. She was costing this city much more than that due to her lack of intelligence, minority attitude, and shady biz deals. Time to lick the wounds and move on to bigger and better things without another employee waving race and gender cards to remain employed.

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