Williams not worried about censure

By: Jonathan Martin Email
By: Jonathan Martin Email

May 3, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Commissioner Calvin Holland never got to see what was on city administrator Fred Russell's hard drive, but the matter turned into a huge deal at the Commission.

Now Marion Williams say he has the rights to the hard drive. That means the controversy continues.

The debate got hot at Tuesday's Commission meeting.

Commissioners ultimately voted 6-3 to reprimand Holland for ordering a search of the city administrator's computer without full Commission approval. But now Williams is giving the same order, because he says too many folks are doing personal work on city computers.

This could lead to a search of every PC the city owns.

"This is taxpayers' business," Williams said. "This ain't private stuff."

Williams has asked the city IT director to let him see what's on four city worker's computers, including city administrator Fred Russell's.

"I feel like I as a commissioner, I have the right to inquire and find out about it," Williams said.

Williams was out of town today, but he told us by phone he is not worried about being reprimanded. He says he just wants to find employees who are using city computers to do their personal business. If that is going on, it could violate city policy:

City of Augusta Computer Policy
"No one without specific authorization shall use any County computer or network facility for non-county business."

Source: City of Augusta Handbook

"If that is being done, it is an issue," Mayor Copenhaver told News 12. "One of the things we discussed as a commission was bringing in a computer software that would randomly sweep employees hard drives to check and make sure that's not going on."

The man whose hard drive seems to be a hot item says he has nothing to hide, but doesn't feel his computer should be seized at the order of one commissioners.

"I've got a hard drive that unfortunately I'm not skilled enough to put a whole lot in anyway," Russell said. "For those who know me, it's somewhat flattering to think that anyone would think I have something on my hard drive."

We called the city's IT director to see if she will give Williams access to the computer. She has not returned our calls.

Williams says he will go to the attorney general if he has to.

The mayor says he's working to get a legal opinion on whether it is a violation for one commissioner to order a search. He says if it's not, he will ask the Commission to change their decision to censure Commissioner Holland.

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  • by Carol Location: Augusta on May 6, 2007 at 09:27 AM
    As a citizen, I want to see Marion Williams' cell phone records made public. Don't I have that right as a taxpayer? Doesn't he run up a HUGE bill each month? Why is he not being held accountable for private businees conducted on his cell phone at the expense of the taxpayers of this county?
  • by Carly Location: Augusta on May 4, 2007 at 05:16 PM
    What you want Mr. Williams is of little interest to the people of your district. What they want is to see some changes made. Take some of that holier than thou attitude you have, and get out in the streets of your district and do something for the people. We really aren't worried about what Mr. Russell is doing. We do have concerns about what you are doing, which appears to be very very little. The neighborhoods going down, the gang getting bigger, the elderly staying in their homes out of fear, and the families looking to move out of Richmond County because nothing is getting better. A person would wonder exactly what you are really doing for this district other than banging on your own pots and pans just to get headlines. Do something worth the headlines and for the voters that have supported you all these years. In other words "Put up or shut up"!
  • by Terry Location: homemaker on May 4, 2007 at 09:31 AM
    Since 1988, I've become so concerned about my children's safety here that I have driven them back and forth to school every day from Pre-K to senior high. I'm ready to move out of the county because of bullets, pellets and BB's flying all over my property, arrogant, verbally-abusive young people and their parents trespassing on and vandalizing mine and other neighbor's property, my pets killed, drug-trafficking day and night all around us, our property stolen over and over from each place I lived in this county searching for a safer one, my identity stolen, my sleep deprived because of noise pollution all hours of the day and night. And if you report anything you are retaliated against and made to look like the problem by the druggies' co-dependent acquaintances. Do you think I give a hoot about what's on Fred Russell's computer? It's not a priority! Good people's lives are at stake. Or let's put it another way, the people that are paying your salaries lives are stake. If we are all dead, injured or run out of the county, we can't pay the taxes that pay your salary anymore. Then what? Wake up before you're caught in the crossfire between the local gangs, or your home invaded, like we have been. By the way, these homes aren't in a depressed part of the city, they are in the suburbs!
  • by Debbie Location: Augusta on May 4, 2007 at 08:14 AM
    Is this what we are paying our city officals to do? Aren't there more important things to worry about in Augusta than what's on someone's computer? How about concentrating on all the murders, gangs, and drugs on our streets!
  • by Judy Location: Augusta on May 4, 2007 at 04:55 AM
    I really don't think the majority of people are really sitting around wondering what is on anybody's hard drive that works for the City. Williams needs to get a life! and focus on the many other important things that is wrong with this government!
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