September 6, 2006
Augusta city leaders met again today looking into claims of favoritism and harassment in the Recreation and Parks Department.
Today commissioners wanted to hear from their HR department as to why the education requirements were waived for several jobs.
Tom Beck was not in today's meeting. We're told he's on vacation. But city leaders still wanted to have the meeting, because they had some big questions for Human Resources.
The biggest question: how did at least four jobs in the Recreation and Parks Department requiring a degree end up being filled by people with no degrees?
At the last meeting, Beck told the committee he was not aware of this happening. But some city leaders and employees say he did know...because he signed off on each hire.
Today, commissioners asked HR director Robbie Burns how this slipped by his department.
Burns says it all happened before he took over the as department head.
The subcommittee agreed that the hirings are a clear violation of city policy, so now they're looking at what to do with those folks who are in jobs they shouldn't be.
"We don't want to make a hasty decision and take them off of the job," said commissioner Calvin Holland. "Maybe we'll have to transfer them to another job, but not take them completely out of there, because we don't want anyone to lose their job, but we do want them to be in an area where they are qualified."
Also brought out today was a 2001 letter sent to Tom Beck from former city administrator George Kolb. In the letter, Kolb requests degree requirements be waived because they were having trouble finding candidates for some jobs.
However, these waivers were never approved by the commission.
There'll be another meeting next week, and tom beck is scheduled to be there.