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Augusta Commission Votes On Augusta Landfill Director's Future

Augusta, GA (WJBF) - Augusta Landfill director Mark Johnson says he did nothing wrong saying the raises he and his staff got last year were approved by the Augusta Commission with the knowledge and support of the City Administrator Janice Jackson's office.

"March 20th, the Administrator actually had a copy of the proposal from us that actually included raises. Along the way, we continued to work with Administrator Ted Rhinehart, where we had numerous copies of raises, we built budgets which we [went] back and fourth three times. I don't know how it could be a surprise," he said.

Some Commissioners say they were suprised when they approved the demolition program last year that included raises for Johnson and staff to oversee the program. Jackson's office said it was also in the dark.

"It was done wrong, I think the Commission ought to be held accountable. We ought to hold our department heads accountable, it was still on the agenda to terminate," said Commissioner Marion Williams.

But, the effort to fire Johnson came before he submitted a 65-page report about the raises, which contains e-mails between Johnson and Jackson's office, where the raises were discussed, and budgets that included the raises that were discussed.

If is information Commissioners said wasn't presented by Jackson when discussing the raises in legal sessions.

"I'm just disappointed, I'm disappointed we weren't provided all the information," said Commissioner Sean Frantom.

"She only brought three pieces of paper: one from 4 years ago and 3-1/2 minutes of conversation and 4 of my colleagues wanted to terminate without even giving the director a chance to speak. I don't think that's fair practice, and I don't think that's ethical," said Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle.

Before the meeting, Jackson did not want to talk about the issue, and has cited that an investigation is underway.

Johnson said, however, that he has had no formal notice of any investigation into his raises and only learned about it from news reports. "No document, no e-mail, no memo. I don't believe it was handled professionally, I would have done it different," she said.

Jackson told Commissioners she did not sign off on the raises because the Augusta Human Relations (HR) Department approved them after Johnson said they'd been OK'd by the Commission.

Commissoners debated Johnson's future and voted 5-4-1, with Commissioner Bill Fennoy abstaining, against the motion to fire Mark Johnson.


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