County never approved head-hunting firm's contract

By: Ryan Houston Email
By: Ryan Houston Email


News 12 First at Five/ Monday June 2, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- More than 100 people have applied to be Augusta's next city administrator.

Some city leaders believe the Augusta commission may have broke state law to find some of those candidates.

Commissioner Marion Williams says it has to do with the contract with a head-hunting firm. The Mercer Group has been searching the U.S. for an administrator for Augusta Richmond County.

We're told the problem is the county never approved a $15,000 contract.

"We have to approve that contract before, we approve anything else. You can't just decide who you want to give a contract to and somebody needs to be held accountable," said Williams.

State law says all contracts entered into by the county with other persons in behalf of the county shall be entered into the minutes. We weren't able to find any minutes where the commission approved the mercer contract.

We asked the city clerk and she couldn't find any either. We did find where leaders made a motion to approve hiring a professional recruiting firm to bring forth candidates.

City code states all contracts more than $10,000 must go out for competitive bid.

"I'm at a loss for words. We had so many meetings and had a meeting with the company," Commissioner Wayne Gulifoyle.

Mayor Deke Copenhaver just met with the company last week and picked the top three candidates for the Commission to interview.

"You know I would have to go back and look at the minutes for that. If the attorney thinks we're fine then we are in a good condition," Mayor Deke Copenhaver said.

"The whole problem is that it has not been through the commission. If the attorney signed off on it then I've got some issues with him. He needs to be the one to say you didn't follow the proper procedure," Commissioner Williams said.

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