News12 First at Five/ Dec. 12, 2013
Augusta, Ga----(WRDW)---Just days after the Augusta Commission voted to fire Fred Russell, one of the commissioners who wasn't there to vote, says that was the wrong decision.
Commissioner Grady Smith says now was not the time to let Russell go. Smith says he was out of town on business when the surprise vote took place Monday.
"You don't get rid of one quarterback, until you have one trained to get on the field," said Commissioner Grady Smith.
Grady Smith is upset that seven fellow commissioners voted to fire City Administrator Fred Russell this week just months ahead of his retirement.
Smith was one of three commissioners who were absent from Monday's meeting. Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle and Donnie Smith were also out and all three say work kept them from the meeting.
"I was taken by suprise when I got the text," said Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle.
"Everything was good, we just had the Christmas parade. Everybody was in good spirits and I was totally blindsided when I got the call," said Commissioner Smith.
"I don't know what the circumstances were or what they discussed in legal. It wouldn't be fair for me to say what I would have or what I wouldn't have done," said Commissioner Donnie Smith.
Comissioner Grady Smith says he knows how he would have voted. "No I wouldn't have to voted to Fred. We had a plan on how we were going to allow him to serve out his term," said Commissioner Grady Smith.
Now commissioners are torn on who will act as city Administrator while they search. some want retired city department director George Patty to come back as the Interim Administrator.
Patty told News 12 he'd accept the job if offered. The other candidate is current Deputy Administrator Tamika Allen.
"She's suppose to move up and that's what she's being paid for. There's an opening and I say give her a chance. She's been the assistant this long surely, she's learned something," said Commissioner Smith.
The question still remains does Mrs. Allen want the job working for 10 bosses?