Recreation and Parks director responds to employee allegations

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August 30, 2006

Some of his employees have filed grievances claiming he plays favorites when it comes to hiring and promotions.

But today, Augusta Recreation and Parks director Tom Beck met with a Commission subcommittee to tell his side.

There were lots of grievances filed with lots of allegations from employees, but Beck told the subcommittee that he's just doing his job.

For two and half hours beck defended his actions.

But Beck's answers weren't satisfactory for some city leaders.

"For me personally, the answers were not good enough," said Commissioner Calvin Holland.

"It's an ongoing investigation, it's not complete," said Commissioner Jerry Brigham.

Beck and the department are being investigated after a group of employees came forward claiming he's discriminated against and harassed them.

They say Beck hires his friends who are not qualified for jobs while overlooking tenured employees.

He denies this claim, telling the subcommittee that he hired "the most qualified candidate of those being interviewed for the position at the time."

During the meeting, Commissioner Holland confronted Beck about changing a job description without the commission's approval and filling the job without advertising it.

Beck admitted to changing the description, but says human resources knew about it. HR couldn't respond because director Robby Burns says it happened before he took over.

Commissioners will re-convene the meeting next week when they hope HR can provide answers.

The investigation is still incomplete, but commissioners say there's progress.

"Mr. Beck realized he's been treating female employees different from the way he's been treating males," said Commissioner Marion Williams.

"There's some violation of the policy that we found out about today," said Commissioner Holland.

"I'm still waiting to gather all of the information," Commissioner Joe Bowles said.

None of the employees who made the claims were in today's meeting.

Another meeting with Tom Beck is scheduled for next week.