News 12 First at Five/ Tuesday, May 23, 2017
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Last week, Augusta commissioners got a letter. It was a request from the city's Equal Employment Opportunity director, J.G. Long, asking to talk to the commission. The very next day he was fired.
J.G. Long was hired less than six months ago. The letter he sent to the commission listed six concerns, from conflicts of interest, to office confidentiality, and how the department was run.
Emails from Long shed some light on those issues. In February he emailed his boss saying complaints, including high priority ones like sexual harassment are set aside because of the lack of staff. He said limited resources are significantly impacting the mission of the E.E.O. Office.
This email was later cited as part of Long's termination, saying he was campaigning for more staff for months even though he knew there would be no more hires when he was hired back in December.
"I trust the director. I thought everything was going smooth and I really thought it was moving in the right direction, but evidently something happened," Augusta Commissioner Marion Williams said.
Another area he raised concerns having the EEO Department stand alone. In an email from January he writes it would be catastrophe failure in regaining the trust of Augusta Government employees to monitor the EEO Office. He also asks to hear from the mayor and commission on his concerns. It's a topic commissioners are likely to talk about now.
"Some departments are that important that you need to have the money to have the staff you need to support the operation," Commissioner Williams said.
In an email from February, Long writes he doesn't feel comfortable providing Irving with all of the information from complaint investigations before he's done with an investigation. He raises concerns about it breaking trust in his position.
What's clear, commissioners want to get the full story on what happened and what needs to change.
"I want to hear both sides. I don't want to hear one side and not the other one. I want to hear both sides on what happened," he said.
In his termination letter, the city cites three reasons for firing Long. One, he said he needed more staff to help get his job done. Two, he did not interact well with employees, and over stepped his authority. Three, is his grammatical errors both written and spoken.
News 12 NBC 26 / Thurs. May 18, 2017
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A Richmond County Commissioner is calling for a special called meeting and possible investigation into the firing of a city worker one day after the worker requested to address the commission.
On Monday the former Augusta - Richmond County Equal Employment Officer sent a letter to commissioners requesting a private session to discuss conflicts of interest and several other issues he claims were happening under the compliance department.
The very next day he was fired by Compliance Director Kelly Irving.
In a letter to commissioners the Augusta officer tasked with addressing employment discrimination in Richmond County, J.G. Long, wrote about his concerns.
"He was putting his name to this letter and his convictions and he was saying he felt as if things were not going correctly with the department, "said Frantom.
Long told commissioner he was concerned about "undo influence", "complaint confidentiality", and "conflicts of interest" in the compliance division.
Long told commissioners over the last four months he had followed chain of command raising his concerns in writing and in "one-on-one" staff meetings with the compliance director , but claims none of his concerns were brought to commission.
"As a commissioner when you get that kind of information you need to have a conversation, "said Frantom.
But they never got the chance.
"This letter comes and then I receive a call on Tuesday and then an email from Mr. Long stating that he was terminated on Tuesday afternoon after the letter had been sent on Monday, " said Frantom.
Frantom says since then no one has explained why he was fired.
"Nobody has commented from the Mayor to the Administrator to the Compliance Department to the attorney. Not one person has," said Frantom.
"As of this moment I am still not sure why I haven't seen his termination letter," said Frantom.
Now Mayor Hardie Davis is speaking up.
"It was a culmination of things that have been ongoing for months. It certainly was not something that was a response to the email by Mr. Long, By no stretch of the imagination.
Mayor Davis tells me he got the letter as well, but not from Mr. Long.
Davis also says he was not a part of the decision to fire Mr. Long.
We reached out to J.G.Long and he said "it wouldn't be ethical or appropriate to have a statement at this time."
Then we reached out to the person who fired him, Compliance Director Kelly Irving. Irving said this:
"our compliance department operates in facts, fairness and impartiality and that's how we operate [...] it's a loss losing a staff member, but these are the principles"