Only one commissioner, Matt Aitken, has submitted any goals for the city in advance of today’s “goal-setting” meeting the Augusta Commission has scheduled.
Aitken suggested the city set a goal of improving its gateways, the areas travelers first see when entering the city, City Administrator Fred Russell said.
The 4 p.m. meeting, scheduled during a February retreat, will involve facilitator Malik Watkins from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia.
Impressed with Watkins, the group invited him to oversee the goals meeting and present a proposal on performing an efficiency study of city departments.
Commissioner Jerry Brigham said he’s very busy preparing client tax returns this time of year and might not make the meeting at the Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center. Commissioner Bill Lockett said he too had been busy and had to leave town over the weekend for a funeral, so he might not have time to develop ideas about goals by today.
After the goals portion of the meeting, the commission will hear Watkins’ proposal for the study and give their expectations for its scope, Russell said.
Lockett said privatization of city departments was happening so rapidly that there might not be any need for a study.
“We need to have a professional to take a look at this,” he said. “The amateurs have done it for the last year-and-a-half and they haven’t done a good job.”
Last year, a majority of commissioners approved leasing the city-owned golf course to a private firm and outsourcing management of Augusta Public Transit to a private firm.
At the retreat, Watkins said he would need direction from the commission about which departments
to examine for potential efficiencies.
A similar study he performed in Brunswick for $13,000 included financial analysis and creating profit-loss statements on Brunswick’s recreation, police and public works departments.