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Four Augusta officials at conference in Texas

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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.

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

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 johnny.edwards@augustachronicle.com.

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justus4
101
Points
justus4 11/13/09 - 03:58 am
0
0
Wow! This printing operation
Unpublished

Wow! This printing operation doesn't miss an opportunity to insult the minority commissdioners. It is constantly implied that their level of intelligence is suspect, their decisions to follow the established laws of voting on agenda items - or not, is implied that something is illegal, (non-minority commissioners are found to have gatherings prior to meetings - nothing is suspected or questioned) but anything minority commissioners might do will be viewed by, U know who, as something that might require an investigation, a letter to the editor that's promptly printed, a reporter's opinion of compare & contract the events, then the taxpayer citizen get to sound off on non-minority airwaves about "wasting" dollars, then contact is made with a legal mind about the possibility of changing the laws, then law enforcement is allowed to offer their views, and then it's determined that minority commissioners applied sound judgement and was conducting themselves in a manner consistent with established precedence. (precedent means following known rules/laws) So why all the scrutiny? Well, the inferrence is clear, the implied suspision is clear. See if U can connect the dots...

xanadu
0
Points
xanadu 11/13/09 - 05:25 am
0
0
wow, how do you hook up with

wow, how do you hook up with this employer? as a nurse, i, too, am required to continue to educate and train to keep up with new technology, research, etc., but none of my employers ever spent 2000 bucks on me to send me to anything. i always have to spend my OWN money on seminars and classes and travel, etc. haven't these birdbrains ever heard of accessing the internet and participating in teleconferences? much cheaper than flying there, getting hotel room, etc. i lived in san antonio for years; you can get cheaper hotel rooms than where they stayed, guaranteed, and it wouldn't have been on south or east side, either. let's face it, they went to PAHTAY! at the taxpayers expense, again. You poor suckers in Richmond County need to ask them how they enjoyed spending your money on the Riverwalk and at La Vallita and El Mercado.

Riverman1
83725
Points
Riverman1 11/13/09 - 06:04 am
0
0
I will say this. The trip was

I will say this. The trip was talked about a long time ago and those going made it known. It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. If there were complaints about them going, it could have been brought up before they left.

wizzardx1
0
Points
wizzardx1 11/13/09 - 06:30 am
0
0
See Cloward-Piven/obama

See Cloward-Piven/obama

clearview
0
Points
clearview 11/13/09 - 06:54 am
0
0
Calvin Holland spent

Calvin Holland spent $2,200.00 of our money on his education and training in order to improve his performance during his last seven weeks as a commissioner. Did any co-commissioner or other county official mention to him how it could be perceived? Are we so glad to be rid of him that we are happy to offer him a vacation as a parting gift?

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 11/13/09 - 07:04 am
0
0
A perfect reason to build the

A perfect reason to build the TEE center. We can host commissioners from other cities when they decide to fritter away money.

jeffstonner
0
Points
jeffstonner 11/13/09 - 07:42 am
0
0
Imagine that, all black and

Imagine that, all black and on the govn't dole. Holland needs to repay the cost of his trip. A straight boondoggle for him!

Frankie-B
48
Points
Frankie-B 11/13/09 - 07:55 am
0
0
Folks, as long as it's not a

Folks, as long as it's not a persistent pattern of abuse (i.e. a $600 vice $200 dollar room, massages charged to the city, etc.) there is nothing wrong with this group going to San Antonio. Likely this is where all the folks attending the conference stayed, so there were off-hour sidebars. San Antonio can teach Augusta a LOT about how to reenergize our downtown and the canal. In the late 70's downtown San Antonio was like here, a perceived no-mans land after dark. And the river wasn't much more than a drainage ditch. But people with VISION, ENERGY and BACKING have turned the River Walk area into an absolute gem, bustling with people, business, dining, 1st Class hotels, etc. Our silly little TEE Center wouldn't qualify as a parking garage there. SO, leave Mr. Holland alone. He's still got six weeks on the job. What do you want him to do for this last month or so? Simply sit in his office? Or perhaps he comes back inspired by what a city with a massive minority population can do when they get their priorities straight, live in the now, and decide it's nice to make real money.

jeffstonner
0
Points
jeffstonner 11/13/09 - 08:03 am
0
0
Frankie-B--that's what

Frankie-B--that's what holland has done his whole tenure. By the way, San antonio was "energized" before the late 70s. The riverwalk was a "gem" in the early 70s!

andywarhol
0
Points
andywarhol 11/13/09 - 08:05 am
0
0
Frankie-B, you're right. Hey

Frankie-B, you're right. Hey Justus, I remember the "Black Commissioners" having their own meetings as well. So what's your point?

UPSETMANIA
0
Points
UPSETMANIA 11/13/09 - 08:16 am
0
0
I can see the other three

I can see the other three Commissioners attending this conference but, what's up with this Calvin Holland ? He's leaving office....thank GOD. All he is is a loud mouth.

Gabby
0
Points
Gabby 11/13/09 - 08:53 am
0
0
If I do not have the funds to

If I do not have the funds to go on a trip, I stay home. Augusta does not have the funds to cover this trip...WHO AUTHORIZED IT?????? Please let us know why they were allowed to go. Mr. Mayor you need to look into this matter, immediately.
What is wrong with using the computers for classes and studies. Everyone else uses them.
Just another typical Augusta waste of our tax payers money!

jeffstonner
0
Points
jeffstonner 11/13/09 - 09:01 am
0
0
Gabby, really, from a

Gabby, really, from a historical perspective, what do you expect. I am amazed that Beard, didn't catch this free ride too! Wonder why none of the white comish's went? Oh, yeah, they were probably working!

lifelongresidient
0
Points
lifelongresidient 11/13/09 - 09:06 am
0
0
justice..what are you

justice..what are you smoking!!!! please say you at least have a grade school education...the city is 8.6 million in the red, the commissioners travel budget was deleted so in essence no money to go anywhere. what are they going to learn??? one who is a retired coach, minister, retired sgt and not sure about mr. johnson's educational backround...so when it comes to discussions regarding economic development and the term cross-elasticty of demand or comparative advantage, opportunity cost, how intrests rates or improved quality of life and the impact positive or negative has on the local/regional economies and how any of those BASIC ECONOMIC TERMS should happen to come up what can our commissioners contribute??? 1)build more parks to reduce crime??? 2)we have fort gordon??? 3)let us pray or 4)how about a race track. this just goes to show how backwards and moronic thinking coming from our city representitive both sides. from the debacle which will be the TEE CENTER, the ellis st option, the trolley on broad st to spending money the city dosen't have on a self serving trip to texas

APiratesLife4Me
0
Points
APiratesLife4Me 11/13/09 - 09:07 am
0
0
When there are budget cuts,

When there are budget cuts, people being laid off, programs cut.... They should not have gone on this trip black, white, red, or green............

Just Another Day
0
Points
Just Another Day 11/13/09 - 09:12 am
0
0
I'd rather give my money to

I'd rather give my money to the goverment........I was going to spend it on booze anyway.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
7718
Points
ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 11/13/09 - 09:31 am
0
0
Not me, more booze, bring on

Not me, more booze, bring on the dancing girls!! Whoooo hooooo!!

jb5365
0
Points
jb5365 11/13/09 - 09:47 am
0
0
They should pay for these

They should pay for these things themselves, then I`ll bet they aren`t as important to get to. How much do these jerks make???

puppydog
227
Points
puppydog 11/13/09 - 09:50 am
0
0
I'm sure all the other

I'm sure all the other commissioners from the other cities who are in attendance are also having budgetary problems- I don't know of a geographical region in the country that's not. That is one purpose of the trip, i.e., to learn how to better address these budget shortfalls all municipalities are enduring. You can network and pick up good ideas and solutions from the other attendees as well as from the seminars and presentations. An online version would not even come close to what they will learn and gather by going to this and being there- that is just an ignorant comment, xanadu. Obviously you have never been to something like this. DO you think Governor's, Congressmen, the President, etc do not meet and attend conferences even though the country is in an economic crisis? That is part of doing business and a legitimate business expense and necessary to learn the tools needed to recover from this economic climate. At MCG, they have furloughs, budget cuts, hiring freezes. etc, but you can bet your bottom dollar that travel is still going on there to conferences & conventions out of state to keep up with the latest rules & regulations, to network with other institutions, etc.

jb5365
0
Points
jb5365 11/13/09 - 09:54 am
0
0
Hey! Let`s pass some

Hey! Let`s pass some outlandish bills while they`re gone, that`ll perc`em up....

pointstoponder
161
Points
pointstoponder 11/13/09 - 09:56 am
0
0
Commissioners have been

Commissioners have been attending these conferences for years. IIRC, Marion Williams attended one very shortly before leaving office. When can we expect to see evidence of the education we've been paying for?

AWyld1
3
Points
AWyld1 11/13/09 - 09:59 am
0
0
Why go out of town to learn

Why go out of town to learn how to abstain, they should be putting on seminars in Augusta to show how to raise taxes on citizens without actually having to make a decision or really serve. There should be some kind of rule about a outgoing commissioner wasting my tax dollars to take a taxpayer footed trip that is a total waste of resources. Just when I thought this city couldn't be more laughable they prove me wrong......what a joke.

themaninthemirror
0
Points
themaninthemirror 11/13/09 - 10:03 am
0
0
So, shoud Mr. Holland have

So, shoud Mr. Holland have sent Mr. Lockett in his place? After all, Mr. Holland is still the commissioner for his district until January. And the money should not matter. Hell, they want to build a $38 million dollar TEE center all the while looking for ways to cut city employees salaries through furloughs and benefit cuts. Kind of like ordering pay-per-view when you can't even afford to pay the cable bill.

jeffstonner
0
Points
jeffstonner 11/13/09 - 10:06 am
0
0
man, as a matter of fact, if

man, as a matter of fact, if anyone went it should have been commish elect lockett! Calvin needs to repay the city for this boondoggle. Russel, did you approve this??? Smells like something you would do!

puppydog
227
Points
puppydog 11/13/09 - 10:06 am
0
0
These conferences and

These conferences and seminars are invaluable to the attendees and their respective municipalities. They are widely attended by those all across the country. That's an insult to suggest they pay for this out of their own pocket. Please don't comment on this if you are too moronic to understand this is a worthwhile and beneficial business expense. You negative commenters are being so short-sighted. Your comments are asinine. They will come back with new ideas and knowledge not only from what they will learn at the seminars and presentations, but also from hearing from commissioners and attendees from other jurisdictions and getting good ideas from them. There is no other way to obtain this invaluable information. It is a legitimate expense. Plus, Fred Russell took it out of his travel account that had already been budgeted. It will more than pay for itself by the cost-saving measures they will learn about and also by ways they will learn about to generate more revenue and how to better balance the budget. Get over it, negative commenters- it's a normal, necessary business expense that's done by other responsible government and private entities everyday. It's totally justified.

pointstoponder
161
Points
pointstoponder 11/13/09 - 10:09 am
0
0
Excellent points puppydog. As

Excellent points puppydog. As the Commissioners have been attending this and other conferences for many years, when can we expect to see results?

ispy4u
0
Points
ispy4u 11/13/09 - 10:16 am
0
0
I see that the idiot with a

I see that the idiot with a thousand user names is now posting as Jeffstonner. Man you do not give up. Regardless of what user name you post under, you comments only towards those that are Black, will reveal you every time. Great post RIVERMAN @ 5:04 AM.

hoppy
13
Points
hoppy 11/13/09 - 10:16 am
0
0
Psalm 118:8-10 (King James

Psalm 118:8-10 (King James Version)

8It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

9It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.

10All nations compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD will I destroy them.

bettyboop
7
Points
bettyboop 11/13/09 - 10:21 am
0
0
puppydog are you new to this

puppydog are you new to this area or just clueless??..they have been doing this for years and have never learned one invaluable lesson for this (their) respective municipality. It is known that they take these trips because they are FREE.......marion williams said it's how he got his piece of the pie.... Perhaps other areas derive benefits from their officials going to these "conferences "but Augusta only loses...again..

TheCloser
0
Points
TheCloser 11/13/09 - 10:51 am
0
0
One can only imagine the

One can only imagine the outrage had it been only the white commissioners partaking of this trip. Either send all the commission, or none of the commission. I'm sure we'd all agree they ALL need instruction/education.

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