Commission to vote on new No. 2

Bowles expected to become first white mayor pro tem since consolidation today

The Augusta Commission is expected today to break a 15-year trend of electing a black mayor pro tem to serve as second-in-command to a white mayor, with District 3 Commissioner Joe Bowles the likely choice for the post.

The city has been led by a white mayor since consolidation, with the exception of Willie Mays' 2005 commission appointment to serve Mayor Bob Young's unexpired term, and the commission has consistently elected a black commissioner each year to serve as mayor pro tem.

Bowles appears to have a vote from at least six commissioners, including his own, giving him the majority he needs to become mayor pro tem.

Commissioners Matt Aitken, Jerry Brigham and Joe Jackson and commissioners-elect Wayne Guilfoyle and Grady Smith each have said they will support Bowles for the No. 2 post.

It's a typical first-of-the year meeting for the commission, with little on the agenda besides the pro tem election and standing committee appointments, Brigham said.

Other items on the agenda include the approval of a 5 percent increase in fees for construction permits.

It would be the first increase in the fees in 10 years, and it is expected to generate an additional $40,000 in revenue for Augusta Licensing and Inspection's building division.

The board also is expected to hear a request from Augusta State University Athletic Director Clint Bryant to establish a task force on crime.

In 2006, Bryant formed the Changing Attitudes Refocusing Efforts Commission to serve as a watchdog on the city's response to gang violence.

Brigham was skeptical about the role of city government, which does not manage the sheriff's office, in fighting crime.

"I certainly don't see any laws or anything we can do that might make crime go up or go down," he said.

 

A post-racial pro-tem

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