Commission votes 7-3 to accept Chiquita Johnson resignation

Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010 2:48 PM
Last updated 4:53 PM
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The Augusta Commission has voted 7-3 to accept the resignation of General Counsel Chiquita Johnson, and to appoint Staff Attorney Andrew McKenzie as interim general counsel.

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Staff Attorney Andrew McKenzie (seated) and city administrator Fred Russell.  Rainier Ehrhardt/ Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/ Staff
Staff Attorney Andrew McKenzie (seated) and city administrator Fred Russell.

Matt Aitken, Bill Lockett and Jimmy Smith dissented.

According to the severance agreement she signed Monday, Ms. Johnson will be paid for nine more months - three more months than she's entitled to by contract if terminated - and keep her benefits for nine months. The city will pay $1,187.14 to her landlord to break her lease early.

Ms. Johnson also agreed not to file litigation against the city seeking financial compensation, and she can't apply for another job with the city.

Mr. Aitken said he voted no because he was unfamiliar with the issue. Mr. Lockett said he was opposed because the deal was worked out behind the scenes, with him "left out of the loop." Mr. Smith said he didn't like the terms of the severance package, questioning why she should be compensated beyond six months.

"I don't understand that," Mr. Smith said, "when all the evidence is clear that we have."

Though he voted yes, Mr. Grantham said afterward that he did not want to cast a vote in favor of the severence package. City Clerk Lena Bonner said she's checking into procedural rules to see if the vote should be recorded as 6-4.

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reesiecup
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reesiecup 01/05/10 - 04:07 pm
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Good riddance. Don't let the

Good riddance. Don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya !

Newsreader
11
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Newsreader 01/05/10 - 04:13 pm
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While it may prevent the City

While it may prevent the City from having to defend a lawsuit in the future, I too must wonder why we would have paid a dime more than the contract called for in. Why would it be the City's responsibility to pay to have her lease severed. Where is she going to live?

404Law
226
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404Law 01/05/10 - 04:13 pm
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I am happy to see that Aitken

I am happy to see that Aitken and Lockett were not following the status quo and instead voted their conscience. I suspect that while they knew that Ms. Johnson was going to get booted (as she should!), they were wise to be concerned about the procedural mechanisms as well as not having enough information to make an informed vote. Come to think about, I'm not sure that any of the commish(es) really know what is permitted in her severance package. Shame...they should do the research before opening their mouths (and voting!)

baronvonreich
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baronvonreich 01/05/10 - 04:14 pm
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Over $100k to get rid of an

Over $100k to get rid of an incompetent, affirmative action hire is ridiculous. Hatney should sent to jail for stealing from taxpayers.

404Law
226
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404Law 01/05/10 - 04:23 pm
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Newsreader, I think you make

Newsreader, I think you make an excellent point - as does baronvonreich! Something smells a little fishy about this "over-the-top" severance package that was worked out behind closed doors (even though the hiring process was public and transparent). I wonder if Ms. Johnson knows a few things (as does anyone who works in this office does!), and this golden package is to keep her somewhat happy, paid, and quiet.

RichmondCountyResident1
30
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RichmondCountyResident1 01/05/10 - 04:25 pm
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Ms. Johnson, you're a

Ms. Johnson, you're a lucky(blessed) lady. You get a 100 grand and get rid of these miserable souls. I wish I could get a deal like that. I know you'll be taking you cash and moving out of town, Good Luck!!!

InChristLove
22486
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InChristLove 01/05/10 - 04:25 pm
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If she made $125,000 a year,

If she made $125,000 a year, divide that by 12 comes to $10,416.66 a month. For 9 months that's $93,749.50 plus the money to her landlord comes to a total of $94,936.64 and that doesn't include the cost for insurance. Something doesn't seem right about all of this.

ddarris
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ddarris 01/05/10 - 04:27 pm
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(To The Tune of the Song

(To The Tune of the Song "Blame It On The Alcohol" by Jamie Fox)

Blame it the Ca-Ca-Ca Commissioners, blame it on the Ca-Ca-Ca-Commissioners.

Blame it on Beard....Blame it on Hatney...Blame it on the Ca-Ca-Ca-Commissioners.

You can't Blame with on old Marion , because he was out of office.

Blame it on Calvin Holland, blame it on Jimmy Smith...

Well, ok...the Legal Banana is tipsy....her legal decisions...well, they are flimsy...

And, she was a Black exchange for the White exchange of Donna Williams---the Finance Director.

See the Blacks wanted a Black woman who was incompetent (the Chiquita Bannana).

And, the Whites and Fred Russell wanted a Finance Director who did not meet the educational requirements (a Masters Degree and a CPA) of the job (Donna Williams).

Black and White back stairs deals gone bad in old Augusta....

Blame it on Grantham, blame it on Bowles....blame it on the full votes for Chiquita and Donna Williams...

Blame it on Beard, Blame it on Hatney....you can't blame it on Fred Russell (but, him too maybe).

Blame it on the Ca-Ca-Ca Commissioners....

Blame it on the Ca-Ca-Ca Commissioners.

ddarris
0
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ddarris 01/05/10 - 04:32 pm
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Not only is Chiquita

Not only is Chiquita incompetent....

Chiquita is immoral....

Chiquita is unethical....

Chiquita is cold-hearted....

She is the most mean-spirited person that I have ever met....

As you have sown Chiquita....so, you have reaped....

As you have given Chiquita...it has been given back to you....

H4LJ
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H4LJ 01/05/10 - 04:42 pm
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Ms. Johnson, you're a

Ms. Johnson, you're a lucky(blessed) lady. You get a 100 grand and get rid of these miserable souls. I wish I could get a deal like that. I know you'll be taking you cash and moving out of town, Good Luck!!!
Posted by RichmondCountyResident on Tue Jan 5, 2010 3:25 PM...I wonder what the topic of discussion is for dinner at Rev. Justus, his wife Rose, and their two beautiful little boys, Jackfruitcake and RCR. All the evidence is there RCR. Cant you for a second acknowledge the fact that she has a little problem with overspending with the your money? No? Oh, that s right! Shes a minority. My bad!

RichmondCountyResident1
30
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RichmondCountyResident1 01/05/10 - 04:50 pm
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H4LJ,one hundred thousand to

H4LJ,one hundred thousand to leave your company. Where do I sign up?

H4LJ
1
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H4LJ 01/05/10 - 05:01 pm
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Why are they miserable souls,

Why are they miserable souls, RCR?

weatheringheights
0
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weatheringheights 01/05/10 - 05:01 pm
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Concerned Woman, if you ask

Concerned Woman, if you ask me she's come out smelling like a rose, a $100K rose. Where else other than sports and politics are people so richly rewarded for bad behavior?

Native007
4
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Native007 01/05/10 - 05:05 pm
0
0
The leadership in this town

The leadership in this town is something else. Really sad to see situations like this so common. If it's not one thing it is something else.

johnsdad
1
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johnsdad 01/05/10 - 05:08 pm
0
0
no more banana's today, toot,

no more banana's today, toot, toot! Now lets send Jerri packing!

southernguy08
564
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southernguy08 01/05/10 - 05:24 pm
0
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I hope this "poor, victim of
Unpublished

I hope this "poor, victim of racial discrimination" kissed the taxpayers before she left. Seems only fitting considering what she just did to us.

tdp
0
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tdp 01/05/10 - 05:28 pm
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Sounds like Jimmy Smith is

Sounds like Jimmy Smith is the only one with any sense. BTW, happy belated birthday, Dana!

AnotherPerspective
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AnotherPerspective 01/05/10 - 05:37 pm
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I'm still confused. She chose

I'm still confused. She chose to quit her job but we have to pay? And, she can still sue if she wants to. Anybody can sue anybody else for anything at anytime.

dani
13
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dani 01/05/10 - 05:39 pm
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Is this woman a licensed

Is this woman a licensed attorney? How on earth can she practice when she makes such dreadful decisions. Is this the reason she is not in private practice. Did she ever work for a law firm?

coolchic
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coolchic 01/05/10 - 05:44 pm
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Why have a legal contract if

Why have a legal contract if it won't be enforced? The contract called for 6 months pay. Was the additional 3 months pay and the $1187(pmt for breaking her lease agreement) a bonus? Isn't that the kind of thing one would pay with a 6 month severance package? When something doesn't sound right, it generally isn't. I agree that she should be let go, I don't understand nor agree that she should be given more than the contract allowed. Bonus or hush money?

Brad Owens
5223
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Brad Owens 01/05/10 - 05:46 pm
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Jimmy Smith was right. This

Jimmy Smith was right. This is BS.

LBenedict
2
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LBenedict 01/05/10 - 06:00 pm
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So fire her and pay the

So fire her and pay the 6-months "entitlement"...and then prosecute and/or sue her for all of the money she wasted. If SHE wants to sue for wrongful termination or some such thing, let her! Let's make public with plenty of media coverage, the trial; let all know what she was doing. This was such a dumb settlement, but, look at the Commission and its history.

AnotherPerspective
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AnotherPerspective 01/05/10 - 06:05 pm
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Hopefully, Robert Mullins

Hopefully, Robert Mullins will sue to enforce the contract on behalf of the taxpayers. Because she resigned and was not fired, she should get nothing under the contract. At least Mullins is looking out for how our money is spent.

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 01/05/10 - 06:05 pm
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Grantham is full of BS! He

Grantham is full of BS! He knows full well that the severance package was part of yet another one of his "backroom" deals to get her to resign. Remember it was Grantham that broke the news that she was resigning. And what's the deal with Aitken? He is unfamiliar with the mess of Chiquita Banana? Why the heck did he run for the commission? If this is indicative of the type of leadership we will see from Aitken, then we are in a big mess. I bet you a dollar for a donut that Butch would have taken a strong stand on this issue. Sounds like Aitken is turing out to be yet another Deke..

WhatNow
39
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WhatNow 01/05/10 - 06:39 pm
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Ranting here does nothing.

Ranting here does nothing. Call your commissioner to let them know how you feel, and remind them that they work for you and are wasting your money. This deal is ludicrous and Mr. Jackson will her hearing from me...

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 01/05/10 - 06:39 pm
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Time to make a phone call to

Time to make a phone call to Joe Neal, JRs firm

concernednative
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concernednative 01/05/10 - 06:42 pm
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emerydan, good point about

emerydan, good point about Aitken if he isn't informed enough to vote on this hot button issue it will be a year before this guy can cast a vote. He is a tool to take care of Morris, Boardman, etc. He probably won't vote or care much about those issues that don't line their pockets.

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 01/05/10 - 06:44 pm
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whatnow?... the commissioners

whatnow?... the commissioners couldn't give a flying flip what we think. They do what they want.. most inmportantly what their big money contributors (like The Boardmans) tell them to do. They know that hardly anyone shows up to vote in local elections and so they can pretty much do whatever they want as long as it pleases the ones with the money.

Emerydan
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Emerydan 01/05/10 - 06:47 pm
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Aitken wimped out on this

Aitken wimped out on this issue because he didn't want to be seen as voting against a black woman. I mean the record of the banana is pretty clear.. the commission had enough ammunittion to simply fire her.. most ppl in Augusta know this.. certainly Aitken knows this. I would have had more respect for his dissenting vote if he had said he was against the ludicrous severance package.... but not enough info?? Come on! I would of loved to hear what Butch would have had to say if he was voting on this issue.

coolchic
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coolchic 01/05/10 - 06:48 pm
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Emerydan, enough about Butch.

Emerydan, enough about Butch. This is not an isolated Harrisburg issue so he probably wouldn't have said much on the issue. I do agree that Deke has no spine.

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