Commission to vote on inmate labor, racetrack proposals

Controversial decisions on using inmate labor for demolition work and building a racetrack go before the Augusta Commission on Tuesday.


Commissioner Sammie Sias called for Augusta to return to using state prisoners housed at Richmond County Correctional Institute for demolition projects to save money. Some 100 city-owned houses slated for demolition in Hyde Park were a suitable starting point, with contractors continuing to handle asbestos abatement, City Administrator Janice Allen Jackson said.

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Sias hasn’t returned messages seeking comment but signed up to address the commission about “administration access” after other commissioners accused him of working in isolation with Jackson and Commissioner Ben Hasan on the project.

Hasan said he “got his own information” and hadn’t joined with Sias in tasking Jackson with the project, which would help Environmental Services “stay solvent” and not increase garbage fees to cover an expanded demolition program it began last year.

Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle, who opposed the plan, has invited three local demolition experts to speak about the proposal, including Thompson Building and Wrecking President Hiram Thompson.

Reached Monday, Thompson questioned the city’s ability to manage demolition projects, particularly in the area of asbestos abatement.

“They spend piles of money doing inspections, then don’t hire anybody to oversee whether it is done,” he said.

Thompson also questioned why demolition work was being singled out for inmates to do.

“If you’re going to take professional people out of the scene, why not do that with other trades?”

Hasan revived Commissioner Marion Williams’ decade-old plan to build a racetrack in south Augusta to increase tourism.

In 2006 the commission approved moving forward with the project but Augusta Development Authority refused to allow it to go on empty land in Augusta Corporate Park, which is now home to a Starbucks soluble products plant. Williams was questioned by the GBI about his son-in-law’s purchase of nearby land before the location was made public but no one was charged.

“I think the drag strip is a good idea,” Hasan said Monday.

Reach Susan McCord at (706) 823-3215 or


WHAT: Augusta Commission meeting

WHEN: 2 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: Augusta Municipal Building, 535 Telfair Street

Sonny Pittman 13 days ago

Using inmate labor for cleaning out ditches and retention ponds is one thing. But, the idea of using convict labor to perform structural demolition work is the height of fiscal irresponsibility and, if approved by the Augusta Commission, could subject Richmond County Taxpayers to serious financial loss and liability.


Jerry Whitcomb 13 days ago
"Williams was questioned by the GBI about his son-in-law’s purchase of nearby land before the location was made public but no one was charged."

And so it goes in Augusta. If that had been Guilfoyle and a relative both would be charged and/or sanctioned and charged. 

As for the drag strip......close Daniel Field with it's destroyed control tower and use the runway there for Hasan's and Williams' drag strip. Maybe Williams' son-in-law can buy the fast food joint on the corner or convenience store across the street. 
Donald Sterling 13 days ago
Hope you are joking about using Daniel Field as a drag strip.  The noise caused by these fuel wasting monsters would be bad for the surrounding area.

Jerry Whitcomb 13 days ago
No....I'm not kidding. Those folks already have to put up with airplane engines revved up to the max. I certainly don't want the noise and departing drunks out here on the south end to louse up the weekend afternoons. 
Johnny Rio 13 days ago
Marion Williams loves to drag race. If this track is built watch his county paid for gas consumption rise dramatically. Maybe we just need to get the commissioners bumper cars and let them slam into each other in the Regency Mall lot. The Motorcycle Mayor, Hardie Davis, can be the starter. County Administrator Janice Middlenamesomething Jackson can wave the checkered flag at the finish. If Wayne Guilfoyle, Grady Smith, Mary Davis or Sean Frantom is leading she can have them keep going until someone she likes is ahead.
Donald Sterling 13 days ago
1) No to prison labor for demolition.  
2) No to the proposed location of a racing venue of any type.  The noise alone would be detrimental to nearby business and residential areas.  Why is this area continued to be mentioned for a drag strip?  Anything like this needs to be away from residential areas.  

Donald Sterling 13 days ago
Please contact your Commissioner concerning matters of importance like these.  
Steve Klopfen 13 days ago

Many of us do.

But as long as The South Side voters lack any equal say (by political district design)  in what happens. There is little that can be done other than RANT once we have done so.

BTW: I know for a fact Wayne (Dist 8) reads these R&R's  and has chimed in a number of times. Like when the AC "accidentally" misquoted a projects budget figures several times, despite being provided the PRINTED materials and called about the "accidental and repeated error" .
Steve Klopfen 13 days ago
I can see our Southside Commissioner is having fun with another Downtown 6 (DT6) Logic Battle.

In the more likely than remote chance,  that the DT6 missed it.

QUESTION - have they checked into the Asbestos Removal Issues?

Since this involves the demolishing older homes & Building and cleanup, all of which likely do contain and or have scattered around ASBESTOS and other hazardous materials.

So wouldn't State & Federal Law regarding Asbestos & Hazardous Material exposure, handling , removal, containment/abatement and licensed disposal kick in?

I wonder what the Federal Fines are for failing to follow proper procedures and exposing Untrained Workers to hazardous materials.

contains a list of issues ending with O.C.G.A. 12-12-20
That states that the State of GA. adheres to all rules/or and regulations promulgated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to the federal Toxic Substances Control Act or the federal Clean Air Act or by the Occupational Safety and Health Admin. of the United States Department of Labor pursuant to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act or by other applicable federal statutes.



B. M. Michales 13 days ago
Williams and son in law would have been in trouble if they were White. This smells to me. Little Detroit right here in Georgia. What a bunch of dummies and crooks!
chas cushman 12 days ago
Bring back the chain gangs w/o the chains. If they don't want to work they will live of beans, bread and water, no TV or gym.


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