Clock ticks on arena list

The current Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority board's time is up at 11:59 p.m. May 31, but whether a new board will be in place the next morning is uncertain.


If not, management company Global Spectrum could be left operating James Brown Arena and Bell Auditorium with no oversight board.

A restructuring bill signed by Gov. Sonny Perdue on Tuesday ousts the nine remaining board members and reduces the panel from 12 to seven.

Three will be appointed by the five Augusta commissioners in each of the two super districts, and the legislative delegation will pick a chairman who votes only to break a tie.

Super District 10 Commissioner Don Grantham said he and the others on his side -- Joe Bowles, Jerry Brigham, Joe Jackson and Jimmy Smith -- have been tossing around five names in phone conversations, and they'll whittle them down to three and have them ready for a vote at Tuesday's commission meeting, the last one before June 1.

"We're not gonna' let a gap be there," Mr. Grantham said.

The five from the other super district haven't started talking, though, according to both Super District 9 Commissioner J.R. Hatney and Commissioner Calvin Holland.

Mr. Hatney said they've been waiting to see what the governor would do.

Two names likely to be on the table on the District 9 side are Charles E. Harris and Bonita Jenkins, whom commissioners Alvin Mason and Corey Johnson wanted to appoint in April before they learned that the overhaul bill would boot anyone sitting on the board and bar him or her from being reappointed for a year.

Mr. Hatney said it's unlikely they'll have three names agreed to by Tuesday, but he'd like to have them appointed by June 1.

If it's not done Tuesday, confirming them in time would require a special-called meeting, according to City Clerk Lena Bonner.

"We're gonna' work on it," Mr. Hatney said.

As for the chairman, legislative delegation Chairman Quincy Murphy said he'll try to get the members together this weekend or early next week to start talking about candidates.

He said he would like to have a chairman in place by June 1, and he would like to have all seven delegation members take part in the vote.

But time is short, with Rep. Hardie Davis heading to Australia next week. Mr. Davis is participating in a political exchange program through the American Council of Young Political Leaders, which starts May 22 and lasts 10 days.

If a chairman isn't decided on time, both Mr. Murphy and Sen. Ed Tarver said the six commission appointees could go on by electing a vice chairman to preside over meetings.

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or