Sparks fly as Commission censures Calvin Holland

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May 1, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Commissioner Calvin Holland was reprimanded in Augusta Commission chambers today for ordering the city administrator's computer be seized.

The meeting turned into a verbal sparring match.

"You have the unmitigated gall to even think about censuring a fellow commissioner," Holland said.

In the eyes of 6 commissioners, Calvin Holland overstepped his bounds. He was formally reprimanded in today's Commission meeting by his colleagues after ordering a city IT employee to search city administrator Fred Russell's work computer while Russell was on vacation two weeks ago.

"That computer belongs to the city of Augusta," Holland said. "It is not Mr. Russell's computer."

Holland says he wanted Russell's hard drive seized because he suspected Russell was conducting business for his personal fencing company on the city computer.

As a commissioner, he says he has a right to that public information.

But Andy Cheek, who called for the reprimand, says Holland should have gotten full Commission approval first.

"(That) takes away my right as a commissioner to be involved in decisions that are being made," he said.

But the debate changed to one between Holland and the mayor. Holland says Mayor Deke Copenhaver dragged his name through the mud on local television news reports about this issue.

"This is a disservice to the people of this community," Copenhaver said.

"It was a disservice to me when you got on television and--" Holland said.

"It was referenced in our rules of procedure that you do not address people personally," Copenhaver said.

"Then you shouldn't have addressed me on television," Holland said.

"If you would like to review the tapes, I never mentioned your name," Copenhaver said.

Commissioner Holland's reprimand stands as a formal vote of disapproval. The mayor says Holland faces no other punitive action.

The decision to reprimand Commissioner Holland came on a 6 to 3 vote.

Those voting not to censure him were commissioners Hatney and Harper, along with Commissioner Holland himself.

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