First on 12: City of Augusta job cuts span four departments

By: Chris Thomas Email
By: Chris Thomas Email

News 12 at six o'clock, December 8, 2008

Augusta, GA---Call it a sign of the times. The city of Augusta is cutting jobs to save money. The cuts span 4 departments.

We caught up with one group being completely wiped out.

"Doesn't make you feel that good," said Frank Thomas "But it's happening."

Frank Thomas is director of the Human Relations Commission. He learned his department is getting the ax.

"I'm an old guy, so I may go sit on the porch," said Thomas. "But I'm kinda concerned about my folk."

He's concerned about folk like Gloria Ricks who has worked in the department for 10 years.

"It doesn't do any good to cry," said Gloria.

She's one of 20 employees spanning 4 city departments now forced to pack up. The cuts impact 11 correctional officers, one person in the forestry department, 2 people in the law department, and all 6 people at the Human Relations Commission office.

The move is expected to save the city $1 million. Gloria calls their service priceless.

"We provide a means for people to complain about any area that they feel they've been slighted," said Gloria. "It's no longer here."

"It's a shame. I'm sorry," said city administrator Fred Russell. "I'm sorry that they're leaving, but there are tough decisions that we have to make, and that's why we're are here to make them."

Together, Frank and Gloria have spent more than 35 years working in the county. Between the two of them, they'll get 7 months severance pay.

"I'm not complaining," said Frank. "I've been around a long time, and I've done some good."

'Tis the season to be jolly, right?

"Christmas is not the time you want to think about being laid off," said Frank. "It hurts, and I don't like to see it happening, but it's impacting us, and it's not a good feeling."

Those severance packages also include health insurance for up to 3 months.The city administrator says they'll work to place laid off employees in other departments. The HRC will close it's doors at the end of February.


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