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Clifford Rushton cites personal reasons for leaving troubled post he has held since 1997
Web posted Saturday, November 11, 2000
By Heidi Coryell Staff Writer
After 3 years of heading up Augusta-Richmond County's information technology department, Clifford Rushton has told city officials that his last day working for the local government will be Nov. 30.
Mr. Rushton submitted his letter of resignation to the city administrator's office Friday morning.
He said his reasons for leaving were personal and that other opportunities had presented themselves. He declined further comment.
Since Mr. Rushton took over as department head in 1997, the local government's computers have been plagued with a variety of software problems, largely because of an effort to upgrade systems for Y2K compliance.
Among the most problematic of the city's computer-related operations was a new tax software system, which wasted more than a quarter-million dollars and hundreds of hours in efficiency for employees.
When the city decided to upgrade the tax record software in 1997, they used three separate data management packages that were never linked together. Mr. Rushton said last year that the city could have bought a better system but didn't in order to save money.
His resignation comes after months of losing department heads and city leaders.
``It's going to cause some problems, (but that's true) any time you lose a department head,'' said interim City Administrator Walter Hornsby. ``I believe that we've got the personnel over there that - given the opportunity - I think can continue to run things. Now how long? I don't know.''
Human Resources Director John Etheridge quit in August after submitting a seven-page letter of resignation, which cited underpaid employees, a mismanaged county government and ignored county procedure as causes for poor morale among city employees.
City Administrator Randy Oliver resigned last month and has started a new position as City Manager of Greenville, S.C. Before leaving, Mr. Oliver reluctantly admitted that political tampering contributed in part to his decision to leave Augusta government, saying it was inappropriate for commissioners to deal below department-head level.
Augusta commissioners also recently approved the creation of an in-house law department, and city attorney Jim Wall said the organizational change will make Dec. 31 his last day of working for the city.
Mr. Rushton was hired to head the city's information services in February 1997, after being selected from a pool of 16 applicants. Prior to working for the local government, Mr. Rushton was information services director for Federal Paper Board Co.
In 1999, his salary was one of the highest in Richmond County government, at nearly $77,000. According to Mr. Hornsby, Mr. Rushton has several other job offers on the table.
-- Doris (email@example.com), November 11, 2000
This article shows clearly the security challenge presented by the ways that computer technology concentrates power. This man may have been incompetent. Or perhaps he was not getting the resources he needed to do the job. In either case, the local reggion is facing a disastrous loss of manpower, huge expenses, and inconveniences for lots of people.
How much worse might it have been if this information technology officer was being paid by someone to make poor choices. Very few people seem to realize the incredible power that a corporate or government CIO has to disrupt life in the United States. And how easily and untracably this power might be bribed.
-- Neil Ruggles (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 11, 2000.
Huh? I am befuddled by the first answer. The article shows a track record of numerous department heads leaving over the span of a couple of years over basic management problems - poor support of managers and employees, lousy morale, underfunded programs, just about everything that an organization can do to drive talented people away. I am sure there are articles to be found that talk about the abuse of power of IT managers - this isn't one of them.
-- C Murray (email@example.com), November 13, 2000.
-- spider (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 13, 2000.