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By   /   December 9, 2010  /   Comments


By Kevin Hogencamp

City Manager Alfred Lott says that with the depletion of talent in the human resources management department in recent years, he doesn’t have the personnel capable of conducting an effective nationwide search. Mayor Willie Adams has a different perspective: He says, without providing details, that it’s simply cheaper to spend $20,000 on a headhunter rather than using city human resources personnel, the Internet, telephone and the U.S. Postal Service to recruit candidates.

Whatever the reason, Albany City Commission members say that despite the City’s poor recruitment record with and without an executive headhunter, they are willing to spend $20,000 for professional help in replacing Lott, who has been forced to resign as of July 31, 2011.

At its meeting Tuesday, commissioners interviewed representatives of two national recruitment firms, including The Mercer Group, which assisted Albany with its recent downtown manager search. Indeed, Lott and Assistant City Manager Wes Smith are listed in The Mercer Group’s application as “references” for the company.

Asked by The Albany Journal on Tuesday why he would use Lott, who is being forced from his job, and Smith, who has said he may be a candidate for the position, as references, the company’s CEO, Jim Mercer, said: “They were clients on the recent Downtown Manager search that I did for the City and since they are local, I thought they could speak to the success of that search.”

The City Commission is expected to hire Mercer or a competitor, Colin Baenziger & Associates, at its meeting Tuesday.  Lott was hired in 2005 at an annual salary of $110,000. He now makes $138,000. Including benefits, his compensation package is valued at about $200,000. He is recommending that the commission hire Mercer. A third firm operated by Bob Slavin – who recruited Lott; arrested Downtown Manager Don Buie, a convicted felon before he was selected by Lott; ousted Civic Center Director John Mazzola; and ousted Police Chief James Younger — is now prohibited by the City Commission from being hired by Lott.

City Commission members refuse to discuss Lott’s departure publicly.  Privately, some City Commission members say that Lott is being strongly encouraged to vacate his office by January because of his management failures, including federal employment law violations that resulted in complaints being filed by former Human Resource  Director Mary LaMont.

LaMont has audiotapes and other evidence documenting that the City is systematically discriminatory and retaliatory, is continuing with her federal complaint against the City with the intention of filing a lawsuit.  She said in November that the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission told her the City had agreed to mediation in exchange for her audiotaped evidence of illegal and unethical employment practices, including retaliatory discharge and racial and sexual discrimination by Lott and other city officials.

“My audiotapes, not unlike the deeply engrained sense of ethics and integrity instilled in me in my youth, are not for sale – not at any price,” LaMont said. “If money was my sole motivation, I could have gone along with the City’s illegal demands, said what they wanted me to say, and kept my mouth shut about the City’s illegal practices just like most other City leaders choose to do.

“If I had not complained, I would still be the human resources director for the City of Albany and I would probably have received a sizeable increase in pay just as (Assistant City Manager) Wes Smith, (Assistant City Manager) James Taylor, (City Attorney) Nathan Davis, and (Assistant City Attorney) Jenise Smith have.  Niger Thomas’ EEO manager position was being reevaluated for a pay rate increase, which she too would probably have received had it not been for her sudden, unexpected, and unexplained departure from the City.”

LaMont has recorded meetings and conversations while working for the city. Among other indiscretions by city officials, the tapes – some of which have been reviewed by The Albany Journal — reveal:

  • Lott lied about LaMont’s discrimination complaints;
  • A 61-year-old administrator was falsely accused of falsifying her employment application; and
  • Smith says that Assistant City Attorney Kathy Strang became a political casualty after confidentially reporting that her boss kept a loaded gun in his desk.

LaMont, who worked for the city for 13 months, says she began the recordings after it became clear to her that she was working for an organization that systematically disregards the law and City policy. On the tapes with LaMont are nearly every department director and at least one City Commission member.

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  • Published: 1724 days ago on December 9, 2010
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  • Last Modified: December 8, 2010 @ 6:39 am
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  1. Truth B Known says:

    I hope Lott dont move to far,he still has to come back for my court case.And bless his heart,he will have to pay his on way.Not at the expense of Albany tax payers.And i payed for my court cost,Albany did not.If they would have done there job in the first place they would not even had to go to court.Oh and not lie either.

  2. Truth B Known says:

    They just love to spend our money dont they?They should be made to make it come out of there own pockets.After all,they are the ones wanting to hire someone to find someone.Heck i can do that.And save a bunch of money.Let Kathy do it.She already knows how underhanded they all can be.And she would make things go like they should go.See cost nothing.Just common sense.Not that she would do it.They have all treated her so bad.And all that have done so should be ashamed.But that dont bother some people in Officals that are in there now.It s time for all the bull crap to end.and all of us to take Albany back.Look at what got us the ones like Don,Al,Now theres some head hunters.Or should i say money hunters.AL,do you ever feel like you are not wanted?Would nt it be nice to start of the New Year with New people.All the way through the system.Its like this,Others in the Court House,and Police,and even City Att. Office are lieing there butts off just to keep there jobs.There are people in Albany other than you all.And you all know alot.so why not come foward and tell all you know,The Truth.Sometimes the truth hurts,but it can make you have a heart again.
    I know you all know what is going own.You are just job scared,or just plain dont care about anyone but yourself.Yet the time will come,that all of you will have to answer to someone.Before Lott get away from Albany,let him get some jail time,and Nathan,and the list goes on.But do the right thing.Not for yourself anymore,but for everyone who lives and pays taxes,not to mention your salary.It s Time to clean house!And save 20 thousand dollars.I for 1 know the next person that i vote for will have to give me idea of what they can do for us.But put it in writting.If not for Kathy alot of people would still be in the dark about just how crooked our Officals are.And i know there are more people who could come foward,but will not.All i can say to you all is you reap what you sow.!There are so many more that should go when Lott does,the Mayor,Nathan,police cheif,Some city commissioners,(Most}And Some County also.We need to make our voices heard,this is our Town,not theres to play with as they like.No one has the right to play with someone elses life.But if we wait for them to hire someone else i bet it will not get any better.Let the People speak.Let them have some say so over who is going to be dealing with there Town.After all,We are many,They are but a few.

About the author

Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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