News 12 First at Five, March 7, 2008
AUGUSTA, G.---It was a special called meeting to iron out problems. It ended with arena general manager Robert "Flash" Gordon being fired.
Gordon's contract was set to expire in December. "I haven't been here a year and a half...you expect me to work a miracle in a year and a half?" he asked.
"I think it's kinda harsh what has happened; their reasoning, I didn't get a reason," Gordon said.
The decision came after a tie vote. Coliseum Authority Chairman Harry Moore delivered the deciding vote.
"Is there anything you could have done?" we asked.
"Probably kiss up to certain members of the board," Gordon said.
It is a board dealing with its own share of troubles. Earlier in the week, the Augusta Commission called for restructuring of the Coliseum Authority.
"Are you trying to save your board by offering a sacrifice?" Gordon asked.
That is up for debate, but one thing that is certain is that the Arena is struggling to bring in sellout attractions.
"We sold out a couple of weeks ago when we had Celtic Woman," Gordon said. "What kinda press did we get from that? None."
Gordon says it takes time. "You've gotta come in and, more than likely, smooth things over, make things better, make people believers--especially event planners and promoters."
But his time has run out. So what next? "It's called a 'wait and see' type thing. Who wants to be where you're not wanted?"
Meanwhile, "Here we go again," said Linda Roberts. She will serve as interim general manager for the fourth time in 10 years of the James Brown Arena.
"On 60 days notice we can ask you to leave," said Coliseum Authority attorney Ed Enoch. "So, no cause? Right, no cause was put in the resolution, and that's all I can speak to."
Members of the management team were visibly shaken.
"It's just been a very challenging day, and I really just hate to see Mr. Gordon go," said Margaret Ellis, finance/human resources director.
This all comes after a heated meeting with the Augusta Colts general manager, John Sisson. At one time he stormed out. They were debating why the team's turf was left sitting outside, among other things. But even Sisson says he wasn't expecting Gordon to be fired.
"I don't want to see anybody lose their jobs, you know...I got kids," said Sisson.
Authority members Booker T. Roberson, Adrian Arnold, and Vice Chair Janice Jenkins left the meeting before the vote.
The Authority has called a meeting for Monday morning. The new facilities manager, Julie Huggins, was hired Wednesday. Flash was fired Friday. Initial reports have Julie reporting to work Monday.
Flash will get 90 days severance pay.