Sparks fly as Commission censures Calvin Holland

By: Jonathan Martin Email
By: Jonathan Martin Email

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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  • by Judy Location: Augusta,GA on May 3, 2007 at 10:11 AM
    I was shocked by the comments made at the Commision meeting. Holland is in his position to serve and not be served. I thing the whole thing is a witch hunt to get rid of Fred Russell and make Mayor Copenhaver look bias. This kind of ignorance is why Augusta cannot move forward and everyone is moving to Columbia county.
  • by margaret Location: heph on May 3, 2007 at 07:02 AM
    Why Marion can order this and Fred can't. I thought Fred was the supervisor.
  • by Helen Location: Augusta on May 2, 2007 at 02:18 PM
    Have you ever heard the saying "the guilty dog always howls the loudest!" So it goes with Commissioner Holland. It is embarassing to see one of our leaders act like that! Thank you to the other commissioners for holding him accountable and to the mayor for not letting him wreck the meeting! He should get a lot worse for what he did!
  • by Lilly Location: Augusta on May 2, 2007 at 10:34 AM
    I'm glad to see there *were* 6 sensible votes in censuring Commissioner Holland for his inexcusible actions. I feel he was trying to create falsely negative accusations against Fred Russell to divert attention from the proof against Vanessa Flournoy. Holland's 1-man move to act against city employees in seizing their equipment had better not be repeated!
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