Commission overturning of firing criticized and defended

Augusta, Georgia Seal graphic
Augusta, Georgia Seal graphic

AUGUSTA,Ga (WJBF)The “un-firing” of firefighter Charles Masters had city leaders fired up.

“We have a gentleman .don’t interrupt me I’m talking,” said Commissioner

Sammie Sias, from the commission dais.

All right suspend,” said the Mayor tapping on his microphone.

“I don’t know if you have children but they ain’t up here,” said Commissioner Marion Williams.

After a closed door legal session commissioners overruled the firing of  Masters, and instead place him on suspension

“I think the process that we used was very, very wrong and that’s why I voted against it we should not be involved in H-R matters period,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.

Others agreed that the commission should not be interfering in a department director’s decision especially when Masters appeal process wasn’t over.

“We have a process in place to address particularly disciplinary issues and I think we need to allow that process to work before we change it or the commission gets involved in it,” said Commissioner Sammie Sias.

“I think some commissioners have hi-jacked the process and you know if you’re going to hi-jack it for one you need to hi-jack it for all,” said Commissioner Bill Fennoy.

Attorney Jack Long represented Masters and said the commission did the right thing overturning the firing.

“I would not have gotten involved If I felt he had done something a flagrant violation of city policy,” said Long.

“When it comes to litigation we have the authority to supersede that issue and that’s what we did we saved the county taxpayers a lot of money from the lawsuit,” said Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle.

“That’s a good excuse because nobody knows if there will be a costly lawsuit or not people threaten all the time to sue you but we were right,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.

Masters was fired on April 11th so based on his 30 days suspension he’ll return to work next week.

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