Well damn, he caught me.
One of the CSRA’s more infamous curmudgeons, Al Gray, singlehandedly uncovered the massive scheme I had forged to infiltrate the Columbia County government at its highest levels, by displacing not only the county’s chief elected official with my own puppet, Pam Tucker, but the county’s top bureaucrat Scott Johnson, with my own brother-in-law (CC’s chief engineer Steve Cassell).
Here was the bombshell accusation, which Gray posted on The Austin Rhodes Show Facebook page:
“Austin loves her (Pam Tucker) and this brouhaha because he is trying to pull the exact same game he did in Augusta – get the Administrator fired so his brother-in-law can get the administrators job.
Austin loved the old City Stink/ Augusta Today crowd as long as it was heaping fire on Fred Russell then turned against them when his BIL Steve got in line to succeed Russell. Now Steve is a Director in Columbia County and Austin is pulling the same scam.”
Poor old Al, he is not remembering things quite right, but his version of the story is far more entertaining than the truth.
Actually, Steve Cassell never applied for the administrator’s job in Augusta. During the time the city was without an administrator, Steve and Tameka Allen did split a lot of the duties, and while they did a stellar job, much better than Russell ever did, neither applied for the position that eventually went to Janice Jackson. Later, Steve did apply , and was passed over for, a permanent Deputy Administrator position. That was a huge mistake on Jackson’s part, and the taxpayers and citizens of Augusta were the ultimate losers there.
But let’s get back to Al’s fantasies about my scheme to supplant current Columbia County Chairman Ron Cross, with Pam Tucker, and Scott Johnson with Steve Cassell. Since Al is a full time Linclon county resident he may not have gotten the memo that Cross was not planning to run for re-election. While local builder Mark Herbert is considering a run for the office, and had been discussing the possibility with friends and family members, the most important candidate that is planning to run for that spot is current District 1 Commissioner Doug Duncan.
As long as I have known Pam, and as much as I consider her a friend, I have known Doug Duncan even longer. I also consider him one of the smartest and most talented officials to have ever been elected to municipal office in this area. I cannot begin to tell you the many, many important local initiatives that have involved Doug’s work behind the scenes, and if I even attempted to try, he would never speak to me again. So I won’t.
Suffice to say if I were able to push a magic button and have one single local human turned into a Senator or Governor, it would be Doug Duncan.
Ironically, when Pam ran into all the trouble with Scott Johnson right after the holidays, it was Doug that I sought out in the quest to help her get the situation straightened out and establish some type of “detente” so that they could continue to work together. He did the best he could do as a single Commissioner, but he took great care in the process not to violate the chain of command, or strong arm anyone. Sadly, the working relationship between EMA Director and the County Administrator had deteriorated to the point of no return.
Still, the timing of Pam’s resignation caught me and many others off guard, just as her political announcement did this week. Had she contacted me ahead of time, I would have done my level best to talk her out of it. Not that Pam would not make a great Commission Chair, I think she would, its just that I know there are local entities that could benefit from her professional talents and EMA expertise, and I don’t believe she could do both.
Before you send me the letters, emails, and texts asking me to pick between Duncan and Tucker if they both end up on the ballot in 2018, at this point, I simply won’t do it. They are both fantastic, altruistic souls, who no doubt would do wonderful things for Columbia County residents. Unless something drastic happens between now and then, I will flip a coin between the two when it comes time to choose.
…and for my buddy Al Gray…I have good news! Either way, “Austin’s candidate” will win, and while my plans are no longer secret, the grand scheme to keep my people in charge will most certainly succeed.
Despite the best attempts of “those meddling kids”, things will work out exactly the way I always planned.