No Backup Plan Leaves City Scrambling On Administrator Position - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

No Backup Plan Leaves City Scrambling On Administrator Position

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Augusta, GA -

They were both behind closed doors - the Mayor and Mayor Pro-Tem - but it wasn't about serving as acting administrators. They say, for now, the administrator or deputy administrator are the ones in charge.

"In the event neither of the two of them is here, then the authority of the administrator would fall to me...in my absence, the Mayor Pro-Tem, but this is only in place until we name an interim," said Mayor Deke Copenhaver.

Commissioners went behind closed doors Tuesday, but failed to agree on naming an interim. For many, Deputy Administrator Tameka Allen is the logical choice. However, some Augusta Commissioners oppose her being named.

"I'm looking for more outside leadership. Nothing against Miss Allen, I think she's a great outstanding lady who's been in this government for some time," says Commissioner Joe Jackson.

Allen might have six votes to be named interim, but is that enough for anyone to feel secure in taking the position?

"Why would you want to work with half of your bosses not wanting you in the first place? That would make a difficult job more difficult," says Commissioner Bill Lockett.

Commissioners have this job of naming someone to take over because they voted to fire Russell without a succession plan in place.

"Should there have been a backup plan in place before Mister Russell was fired?" we asked Mayor Pro-Tem Corey Johnson. "Yes, it doesn't't always work out that way," he said.

"Did the seven Commissioners who voted to fire Mister Russell err in not having a backup plan in place?" we asked Mayor Copenhaver. "I'm not going to accuse them of erring. It is good to have that strategic plan in place and we do now, moving forward," he said.

"In actuality, I don't know where [we're] going either, but I expect by our next meeting hopefully to designate someone as the interim administrator," says Commissioner Lockett.

The next meeting is January 7th. That means, Fred Russell will be gone, leaving the job to Deputy Administrator Allen, the Mayor, and if needed, the Mayor Pro-Tem. Mayor Copenhaver says he would like to see a Commission meeting before the end of this year to work on naming an interim.

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