Stephanie Johnson

Stephanie Johnson

Stephanie Johnson, candidate for ACC Commission in District 6

Stephanie Johnson, better known as Stephanie Maddox, is running for ACC Commission in District 6. Johnson served as ACC Internal Auditor for six years until she was fired in 2021 for failing to perform her job duties.

Johnson’s website

Signature Issues

Fiscal Conservatism – Johnson says she supports “responsible” spending and wants to stop “wasteful projects” without getting into specifics. Johnson also says she wants to create a public database for all expenditures, similar to the one in Glendale, Arizona. The ACC government has such a database for American Rescue Plan funding only. She supports cutting property tax rates.

Improving Quality of Life – Johnson wants to “address traffic congestion” on Atlanta Highway and “prioritize economic growth,” but does not currently have specific proposals on her website.

Fighting Crime – Johnson wants to keep Athens safe by better funding the ACC Police Department and helping fill officer vacancies.

Experience

Johnson worked in the ACC Finance Department from 2010 – 2015 and served as ACC Internal Auditor from 2015 – 2021. She has a degree in economics from UGA. Johnson has never run for elected office before.

Controversy: Johnson’s tenure as ACC Internal Auditor

Johnson’s tenure as internal auditor was marred by controversy, poor management and extremely low productivity. Her employees complained about a hostile work environment repeatedly until they finally quit, one after another. She never re-hired for the empty positions, making her last two years as auditor almost completely lost in terms of productivity.

The ACC Auditor is a charter position equivalent in rank to the ACC Manager, a fact which prevented the ACC Human Resources Department from doing anything about her employees’ complaints. When Mayor Kelly Girtz was elected, Johnson’s employees pleaded for him to act. In 2019, Girtz placed Johnson on an improvement program, which she failed to complete.

Johnson later sued Girtz and ACC Manager Blaine Williams for unlawful retaliation, a case which is still working its way through the justice system. Johnson claims that Girtz’s improvement plan had nothing to do with the working conditions in her office, but instead was retaliation for an open records request she filed the year before. She has not provided any public evidence to support this claim.

The ACC Commission and Audit Committee fared no better at holding Johnson accountable for her office’s poor performance. After over a year of very low productivity, the Audit Committee disbanded and was completely restructured in an attempt to stop this kind of failure from happening again.

Johnson was placed on another work improvement plan in 2021 in a last attempt to allow her to continue in this role. The plan included monthly check-in meetings with the commission, which Johnson failed to attend. Then, Johnson was fired by the ACC Commission in a unanimous vote.

Interviews

Right-wing group Athens Classic held a candidate forum on March 27, 2024 with a specific slate of candidates they support, which included Johnson:

Johnson went on Tim Bryant’s radio show on March 5, 2024: