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Two Mayor’s Office Staffers Resign



Deputy Chief of Staff Naeem Jenkins-Nixon and Civic Engagement Manager Maria Cook have both resigned from Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis’ office, which has been mired in controversy over the mayor’s credit card spending practices.

Jenkins-Nixon tendered his resignation on Aug. 2 after less than a year on the job, and Cook resigned on July 16 after almost two years of employment.

The mayor’s office did not release a public statement about the resignations, and it took two weeks for the office to release records pertaining to the resignations.

Unlike most resignation letters, which simply state an intention to resign and an effective date, both Cook and Jenkins-Nixon used their letters to outline their accomplishments during their respective tenures.

Jenkins-Nixon’s resignation letter is two pages long, and he listed accomplishments such as helping bring tiny homes to the city, providing educational support, feeding families and crafting a non-discrimination ordinance that will “protect vulnerable, historically disenfranchised members of our community.”

Jenkins-Nixon, who is a former managing political director for the Missouri Democratic Party and communications manager for the Biden Institute (a Democratic Party think tank), was also tied directly to the My Brother’s Keeper program run out of the mayor’s office.

According to a review of Jenkins-Nixon emails over the last few weeks of his employment, most were related to the mayors book club and did not mention the My Brother’s Keeper organization.

Cook counted among her accomplishments creating the “power lunch,” a reading initiative, and she also took credit for My Brother’s Keeper.

Cook’s resignation occurred as several Augusta Commissioners demanded a forensic audit of the entire city government, including the questionable credit card spending by the mayor. Cook’s name showed up on many of the receipts for some of the spending that came under scrutiny, such as that involving fast food purchases that occurred several times a week for the better part of a year.

Earlier this year, the mayor requested an audit that was performed by Serotta Maddocks Evans & Co., the company that handles routine in-house work for the city. Critics such as District 10 Commissioner John Clarke and District 3 Commissioner Catherine Smith-McKnight complained that the work by Serotta Maddocks Evans & Co. was merely a whitewash and not the forensic audit they demanded.

According to emails between Jenkins-Nixon and the mayor, Jenkins-Nixon handled producing the talking points and the final narrative on how to deal with the internal audit.

Talking Points – Internal Audit Report – Augu by augustapress on Scribd

Serotta Maddocks Evans & Co. later stated publicly that they did not perform an audit but rather a review with recommendations.

Jenkins-Nixon also created talking points for the Aug. 17 commission meeting that can be seen below.

Talking Points – Commission Meeting – August 17 by augustapress on Scribd

One last group of discussion points Jenkins-Nixon provided to Mayor Davis was related national politics regarding funding of roads and bridges. No emails existed explaining why Davis had a staffer work on this topic.

Funding for Roads and Bridges by augustapress on Scribd

Davis was given an annual $40,000 budget to run the My Brother’s Keeper program that is aimed at serving underprivileged young men of color. No records exist to prove the program exists beyond paperwork and a bank account.

Records do show that in fiscal year 2020, the city spent $34,177.02 in general fund revenues on the program. Those expenditures covered items such as education and training in the amount of $7,291.30; special events in the amount of $3,863; program supplies in the amount of $4,527.43; and computer software supplies in the amount of $4,037.18.

Davis’ office spent more than $4,000 on digital design, websites and computer consulting from the My Brother’s Keeper account. Another $9,000 was spent on “management consultants.”

The majority of the spending happened before Jenkins-Nixon joined the mayor’s staff. However, Jenkins-Nixon provided records to show that the My Brother’s Keeper program existed. He provided a list of events Mayor Davis allegedly attended.

Attempts to verify Davis’ attendance showed that most of the events never occurred.

Email records show that during the controversy over the mayor’s credit card spending, it was Jenkins-Nixon who provided Mayor Davis with a talking points sheet on what to say publicly about the matter.

Despite numerous attempts, neither Cook nor Jenkins-Nixon returned calls for comment. Jenkins-Nixon did answer his phone twice but refused to discuss the matter.

“I’ll call you back; I’ll call you back,” is all Jenkins-Nixon would say.

He never called back.

Neither Cook’s nor Jenkins-Nixon’s letters disclose a reason for resigning.


  1. I hope that someone follows up on these resignations to determine the real reasons. It is time to renew the forensic audit request to get Alvin Mason in the record. Why should he be against an audit since he just came on board – other than the possibility that he was ha d picked for the position for a reason?

  2. “Attention all hands. This is Admiral Hardie Davis, commander of the SS Augusta. We are preparing to scuttle the ship at the dock. Reverse the rat cones on the mooring lines.” Even rats know when the ship is sinking and try to abandon ship.

    “Biden Institute (a Democratic Party think tank)”- winner of today’s oxymoron contest

  3. “Attempts to verify Davis’ attendance showed that most of the events never occurred.” They need to change the name to Hardies Keeper.
    Maybe he had prayer meetings those days.
    This mans true colors have been shown.
    If the commission doesn’t approve a forensic audit they’re just as guilty,

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