Four Augusta officials at conference in Texas

Calvin Holland:Augusta Commission member opted not to seek re-election this year.

Four Augusta commissioners are in San Antonio for a four-day National League of Cities conference, including Calvin Holland, who has seven weeks left in office.


City Clerk Lena Bonner said the cost per person for the trip is $1,300, not including lodging. Conference attendees are staying at the Grand Hyatt on East Market Street, where group-rate rooms cost about $225 per night, according to a reservations clerk.

So the total cost per person, including a four-night hotel stay, would be about $2,200.

Mr. Holland did not answer his cell phone and did not immediately return a message left on his voice mail. Mr. Holland, who represents District 5, opted not to seek re-election this year, instead endorsing Commissioner-elect Bill Lockett. Mr. Lockett defeated Bobby Hankerson on Nov. 3 and will assume the seat in January.

The city commission depleted its travel budget this year, but the trip was made possible with money moved out of City Administrator Fred Russell's travel fund earlier this year, according to Mr. Russell and Ms. Bonner.

Ms. Bonner said commissioners go on the trip every year, and they all had the option of attending.

Others attending are J.R. Hatney, Corey Johnson and Mayor Pro Tem Alvin Mason.

In a Thursday phone interview, Mr. Johnson pointed out that the commission canceled a trip to another conference in Nashville, Tenn., earlier this year as a cost-cutting measure. He said he learns a lot from the workshops.

"We need to have people in office, in place, who are educated on things," he said. "If you hire someone for your company, you're going to have to train them, and you're going to have to continue to train them."

The conference ends Saturday.

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or