City's board system questioned

Terms expire; service continues

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Augusta has a vast system of at least 29 boards, authorities and commissions whose responsibilities range from governing the city's airports and entertainment venues to financing economic development projects to hearing dog-bite cases.

The most current information on file with the Augusta Commission, however, reveals that nearly 70 appointees' terms have expired, some more than a decade ago. Among the approximately 270 appointees, terms of 40 more expire this week.

According to Commission Clerk Lena Bonner, many of the boards' bylaws specify that a member can continue to serve until a qualified successor is appointed.

Such is the case with the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority, where all seven members' terms have expired. The terms of Joseph Collier, Shirley Darby and Bonita Jenkins ran out Dec. 31, 2009, and the terms of Louis Harris, David Hogg, Brad Usry and Cedric Johnson expired Dec. 31 of last year.

On the Development Authority of Richmond County, the terms of five of the nine members expired in 2009.

Most of the boards have 12 members, with 10 appointed from a commission district by one or more commissioners and two appointed by Augusta's legislative delegation. Among the approximately 30 board members appointed by the legislators, only six have expired terms.

The unwieldy system has not escaped notice of commissioners, who were presented a list of all board members last week.

Commissioner Jerry Brigham remarked that some of the names "were serving 10 years ago." Commissioner Grady Smith asked whether there was a way to keep attendance at the meetings.

"There are a lot who want to serve," he said.

The grand jury alluded to Augusta's system of boards and committees in a January report on the planning commission and the city's plans to subsume licensing and inspections within planning. While noting that combining activities into a single department could save money, "one area of dysfunction centers on the 20 to 30 economic development boards that exist in the area," a grand jury subcommittee wrote.

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specialist
202
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specialist 03/28/11 - 07:06 am
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Does anybody have a clue as

Does anybody have a clue as to how much these boards are costing the taxpayers?
Not only in wages but also in uncontrolled funding!

Riverman1
84152
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Riverman1 03/28/11 - 07:29 am
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Brad Owens, great info. Your

Brad Owens, great info. Your post represents commenters at their best, pointing out situations that it's impossible for one reporter to know. Online papers with commenters have changed the face of journalism.

Back to the subject. I would like to see the AC print a list of the authorities and commissions. I'd like to know about one in particular. Does the hospital authority still exist?

Brad Owens
4455
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Brad Owens 03/28/11 - 08:14 am
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RM1, Thanks, there is so much

RM1,

Thanks, there is so much more, but why bother? I think I made my point.

As far as the list, great idea. Yes, I would like to see a list of all the boards, authorities, their allotments/budgets, and the membership posted here. But I would add one thing, list of accomplishments based on their mandates, in other words, what do we get for our monies spent?

Brad

Austin Rhodes
2862
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Austin Rhodes 03/28/11 - 08:21 am
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The value in the post from

The value in the post from Brad is in the fact that he is a real person, citing real experience. Until ALL or MOST commenters on boards like this are willing to share such real life experience that can be verified, the integrity of these discussions could be rated somewhere between what you expect in internet chat rooms, and closing time at the local yuppie bar.

ZenoElia
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ZenoElia 03/28/11 - 08:27 am
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Owens: Intelligent, well

Owens: Intelligent, well stated, and on point exactly...I myself could never have done it so well...thanks Brad..

I agree, Austin, your last line.

Riverman1
84152
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Riverman1 03/28/11 - 08:31 am
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Austin, realizing you have to

Austin, realizing you have to share the gossip with others? But seriously, if you don't believe anonymous comments have power you are not being realistic. It's increasingly sinking in to everyone, business and government. I loved it when Rep. Howard said he usually didn't read the comments, in a......COMMENT. Regina Buccafusco said something similar once. Haha.

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
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Crime Reports and Rewards TV 03/28/11 - 11:43 am
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"merit based pay for

"merit based pay for giverment employees"
Spot ON Brad!

Brad and other internet reporters deserve a little more credit than they get. If online commenter’s have so little credibility how come so many reporters read them? Anything you read anywhere needs to be double checked but when government preaches we all came from ape like ancestors and cows eating grass in a pasture are causing global warming after science proved global warming is caused by a constantly warming Sun, & with almost all of real science having debunked long ages the Looney left’s “monkey to man” pipe dreams are going up in smoke. Left Leaning media & the gum-ment are so wrongo so many times now, online reporters ARE looking better by the day.

All funding for these committees not only needs another look, but most of the money they absconded with under false pretences needs to be refunded back to the city treasury. Many gum-ment "workers" need to be frogged marched out the door for violating the Sunshine Laws. If we got all of it back we would send a valuable signal to these law breakers and balance the city's budget. 2 birds 1 stone.

mike71345
75
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mike71345 03/28/11 - 12:33 pm
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Brad's comment generated

Brad's comment generated about as many comments as the actual news story. What happened to Brad's comment, and why?

tinman
35
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tinman 03/28/11 - 02:11 pm
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So what is new about all this

So what is new about all this except that we now know that the politicians haven't been keeping up with who or what they have appointed their buddies to. That's politics as usual in Augusta GA. Nothing ever gets done here because no one has the guts to stand up and say "Let's stop the bulls**t and do the public's business". And those that are appointed are riding a gravy train so why should they say anything. As long as they don't have to work for their money, they don't care. You would hear some serious crying from downtown if some of these folks had to actually do a day's work!! SAD SAD SAD!!!

Cadence
219
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Cadence 03/28/11 - 02:14 pm
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I was wondering what everyone

I was wondering what everyone was talking about. I would like to read it.

happychimer
17720
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happychimer 03/28/11 - 02:38 pm
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Brad's comment is on facebook

Brad's comment is on facebook with Butch Palmer.

Lori Davis
929
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Lori Davis 03/28/11 - 02:41 pm
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Back in September I sat in on

Back in September I sat in on a Housing Authority Board Meeting. I arrived early and was entertained by the Board members wanting to know why the meeting was called and figuring out how to cover their bases concerning the topic at hand. This was a special meeting that had been asked for by Commissioner Mason concerning Section 8 housing and how it is affecting our Augusta neighborhoods. I would venture to say that not a single one of the Mayor appointed board members knew anything about how the section 8 system is loosely operated in Richmond County and how it is affecting the quality of life for so many. After a limited amount of explanation in bringing the Board up to speed, Fred Russell stepped in and took over the discussion taking the board totally out of the meeting. Within moments it was agreed that Mr. Russell would get busy working out the problem and would report back in 45 or 90 days. Made me wonder what this Board is responsible for. If there is one area in this city that needs board oversight, it is the Augusta Housing Authority. What a mess this city is in with Section 8 and bad landlords.

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 03/28/11 - 03:10 pm
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Butch to the rescue.

Butch to the rescue.

Brad Owens
4455
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Brad Owens 03/28/11 - 03:10 pm
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I would like to know what

I would like to know what happened to my comment too.

Nothing I posted was false or out of line with the rules on this site.

If the truth about the level of corruption and unethical business paractices of board members and their partners touches some nerves I say GOOD!

Seems like some families connected to the Mayor are off limits huh?

Brad

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 03/28/11 - 04:07 pm
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Brad, is it not public record

Brad, is it not public record that a certain someone got a tax-free loan from the DDA? I mean what you said is nothing against Mr So-in-So or painting him out to be a crook in any way, but it does show that the DDA will play favorites when handing out money. No one should be getting an interest free loan (especially someone as wealthy as Mr So-in-So)). Let's be honest, the average person or someone without the right connections could never get an interest free loan like that.

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 03/28/11 - 03:22 pm
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And if the DDA is loaning out

And if the DDA is loaning out public money interest free then that is public record, and the public has a right to know the terms, and it should not cost $500 to see a copy of that record. The Chronicle should understand this above all considering the stonewalling and outrageous fees from the legal dept in obtaining public records

Brad Owens
4455
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Brad Owens 03/28/11 - 04:36 pm
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Emerydan, They didn't want me

Emerydan,

They didn't want me to see it, and YES it IS public record. But when no one will help you and the board attorney Byrd Warlick, refuses to obey the law, what can you do?

Brad Owens
4455
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Brad Owens 03/28/11 - 04:41 pm
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Lori, it seems you and I have

Lori, it seems you and I have runinto the same problem, boards not knowing what they are supposed to be doing and doing the wrong things

Brad Owens
4455
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Brad Owens 03/28/11 - 05:31 pm
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Only two more comments and

Only two more comments and this will hit front page again..it should be there anyway because it is important.

Brad Owens
4455
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Brad Owens 03/28/11 - 05:38 pm
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Austin, I agree a lot of what

Austin, I agree a lot of what you are saying. I wish folks would use their real names more often too.

I hope you note that this story drew comments and mine were taken down on your show.

People ought to know,

Brad

Brad Owens
4455
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Brad Owens 03/28/11 - 05:39 pm
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Zeno, thank you very much.

Zeno, thank you very much.

Lori Davis
929
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Lori Davis 03/28/11 - 05:55 pm
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As I mentioned, I am not sure

As I mentioned, I am not sure if any of these Augusta Housing Authority Board members know what Section 8 housing is all about, and since I recognized a lot of them, I can tell you that many do not live anywhere near Section 8 which was the topic of discussion. Not one board member was prepared to comment, thus a question and answer session as they tried to piece together the problem. Thanks AC for digging deep into the true problems of our government. When I ran for Mayor, I quickly became disillusioned and sickened by the way this city conducts business. Oh, and by the way, I have yet to receive the 2011 business license for my business. I have had to stay behind this process all of the way to avoid penalty. Wonder how many businesses are operating without being licensed. A whole other story...... Maybe I will have it by this Summer.

OhWell
326
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OhWell 03/28/11 - 05:57 pm
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I did not know I could get so

I did not know I could get so much info until I logged in to Butch Palmers FB page. Brad you certainly were eye opening with your comments. I am going to have to friend Butch and see if he accepts so I can really keep up on the issues.

CorporalGripweed
0
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CorporalGripweed 03/28/11 - 06:14 pm
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Brad's comments were right

Brad's comments were right on. It's a travesty that "certain" people had them purged but Butch was quick on the draw. I agree totally that the "Dirty Deals Authority" is a complete waste of taxpayers money. I mean, come on. Ms. Woodard makes $90,000 a year to do what?

Riverman1
84152
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Riverman1 03/28/11 - 06:37 pm
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Brad, why not find the story

Brad, why not find the story in the Chronicle about the DDA? Post a synopsis of the story with the link here. I don't think they would be able to pull that one.

Riverman1
84152
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Riverman1 03/28/11 - 06:40 pm
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Thanks, Mike. Let me continue

Thanks, Mike. Let me continue along that line asking rhetorical questions. So did Boardman get a huge loan from the DDA?

Riverman1
84152
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Riverman1 03/28/11 - 07:07 pm
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I did find this from an AC

I did find this from an AC article which said Boardman was GIVEN $187,000. Was there more?

"When Clay Boardman asked for money to help complete construction of Enterprise Mill, Augusta commissioners responded with in-kind services instead -- more than $187,000 worth."

http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/1998/08/11/met_235686.shtml

mike71345
75
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mike71345 03/28/11 - 07:37 pm
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You're welcome RM1. The

You're welcome RM1. The Chronicle yanked my earlier uncensored re-post.
Here is a beginning on some of the info you wanted–

Developer purchases 2 historic properties . The purchase of two historic Greene Street properties has been completed. On Tuesday, local developer Clay Boardman purchased the Houghton School and Widow's home properties via Historic Augusta and the Downtown Development Authority, which facilitated the transaction. The Capital Development Group, of Atlanta, sold the Houghton School for $270,000 and the Widows Home for $230,000. Mr. Boardman plans to stabilize the buildings and perform much-needed maintenance on them.
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2005/05/11/met_452831.shtml

"Some criticized the Downtown Development Authority for providing Clay Boardman with a $200,000 interest-free loan to rescue the old Houghton School on Greene Street, but he renovated it and turned it over to the Heritage Academy at cost."
"Boardman has done smaller projects himself. In 2004, he came to the rescue of the Widows Home and the Houghton School, both on Greene Street in Olde Town. Houghton was where his grandparents went to school, so he had a special interest. Both properties were vacant and declining when Historic Augusta and the Downtown Development Authority worked together to come up with funding and bring Boardman into the projects. Erick Montgomery, executive director of Historic Augusta, said that Boardman was involved with the group's historic properties committee at the time. Montgomery sent out a request asking the committee to brainstorm some possible solutions to saving those properties. He e-mailed back, Montgomery said. It said, Well, what about me? The DDA offered Boardman a $200,000 interest-free loan to entice him into the projects. He also put up several hundred thousand dollars of his own money to acquire the properties and stabilize them. Boardman still owns the Widows Home and he is working with a Christian-based community health clinic to locate there. Boardman has agreed to gift the renovated Widows Home to them. He recently completed a deal to put the Houghton School back to its original purpose  education. According to the DDA's annual report, Boardman sold it to the Heritage Academy at cost. That was $1 million, county records indicate."
http://www.metrospirit.com/index.php?cat=1211101074307265&ShowArticle_ID...

The contractual stipulations of the deal has buildings passing from the Atlanta developer to Historic Augusta and the authority, which is financing Mr. Boardman's purchase through a no-interest 24-month loan. Mr. Boardman did not return a phone message seeking comment. More detailed plans on the future use of the two properties have yet to be worked out, Mr. Naylor said. The Houghton School will be purchased for $270,000, and the Widow's Home will go for $230,000. Both buildings will then be resold at cost.
http://www.augustacapital.net/common/Content.asp?PAGE=355&CONTENT=779

mike71345
75
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mike71345 03/28/11 - 07:40 pm
0
0
And I see the Chronicle

And I see the Chronicle censored even my censored version of Brad's comment by removing it. Hey Paul, hey Clay, how y'all doin'?

happychimer
17720
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happychimer 03/28/11 - 08:31 pm
0
0
It would be no surprise if AC

It would be no surprise if AC closes the comments. The public needs to know what's going on. We don't need it to be swept under a rug and hidden from us. Thanks Brad and Mike

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