Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Commission Stalls on Firing Beck
By The Outsider
We don't know what all was discussed in the closed door legal session at today's Augusta Commission meeting, but we do know that Recreation and Parks Director Tom Beck was there to respond to questions over an internal investigation that just concluded over the falsification of time cards in his department and allegations of rampant cronyism and a hostile work environment. Commissioners decided to put Beck's fate off for atleast a week, placing him on unpaid administrative leave until Monday.
Holding off to make a decision on whether or not to fire Beck would have made sense if an internal investigation had not yet been conducted, but it has already been concluded. Sources tell us that the evidence was damning enough that City Administrator Fred Russell was likely going to recommend Beck's termination at today's meeting. Since these discussions occurred behind closed doors in legal session, we do not know for sure what Russell's final recommendation was.
But commissioners were presented with the evidence against Beck from that internal investigation at today's meeting, and they saw fit to simply suspend him without pay. So the question remains: Why stall on making a decision to fire Beck? To many people it is looking like the commission is just trying to figure out a way to wiggle out of having to fire Beck and simply give him a slap on the wrist. This is a department director who has had more second chances than Lindsay Lohan has had appearances before a judge. Will he squeak through yet again? The fact that commissioners were unwilling to make a decision today to fire Beck is troubling. It's not like this is the first time Beck has screwed up. And even if this was his first offense, falsifying time cards is a serious matter. How can a department head be trusted if he was complicit in falsifying time cards?
For some people it appears that a double standard exists in Augusta.. that if Beck was black, he would have been fired years ago.. but the entrenched good-ole-boy system has kept him around. Will that play out this time? We won't know for sure until Monday, but the fact that commissioners couldn't come to a decision today isn't very encouraging.***
Will Recreation & parks Director Tom Beck Be Shown the Exit Today?