Commission's gridlock over charter continues

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The Augusta Commission might be forced to meet monthly in the city's new Ruffin Courthouse after three commissioners refused to approve a motion striking the phrase "at the courthouse" from the city charter.

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Alvin Mason (center) talks while Grady Smith (left) and Wayne Guilfoyle look on.   Corey Perrine/Staff
Corey Perrine/Staff
Alvin Mason (center) talks while Grady Smith (left) and Wayne Guilfoyle look on.
Susan McCord
Government Reporter
Twitter: @reportr1
E-mail | 706-823-3215

Commissioners Bill Lockett, Corey Johnson and Alvin Mason opposed the measure, which was recommended by General Counsel Andrew MacKenzie as part of a general "clean-up" of old ordinances that once established Richmond County government but were later incorporated into laws forming consolidated Augusta-Richmond County.

With the motion's failure to pass, it remains on the books that the commission must meet monthly "at the courthouse," which had been the Augusta-Richmond County Municipal Building. All court, district attorney and solicitor general personnel are moving into the new courthouse now, and the last court proceedings will be held in the municipal building April 29, MacKenzie said.

The 6-3 vote, with Commissioner J.R. Hatney absent, reflects a continued gridlock that has plagued the commission much of this year, with the three in opposition also previously voting against efforts to reorganize city government and increase the administrator's powers. They've claimed that the moves alter the city's form of government and require a two-thirds majority of eight votes, not simply six.

Before casting his vote, Lockett cited existing local legislation and city code sections passed as recently as last year that already specify when and where the commission meets. Mason asked why the conflict was not brought to the commission's attention until last week.

MacKenzie said that the code sections Lockett mentioned were passed but the charter hadn't actually been amended, and that he'd continue to recommend the commission "be in compliance" with its own laws, despite the measure's failure.

Among those voting in favor, Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles said he'd meet in the Ruffin parking lot if need be.

"At least if it's outside, we won't talk as much," Bowles said.

MacKenzie speculated that such a meeting might prompt the opposing commissioners to change their minds. The motion needed eight votes to pass.

Tuesday's commission meeting did not draw the large numbers encouraged by Metro Courier newspaper Publisher Barbara Gordon to attend. Gordon, a plaintiff with a local ministers' group and a Paine College official in a lawsuit against the city over the reorganization, told supporters during a rally last week to "black out" the meeting.

Comments (24) Add comment
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Brad Owens
5180
Points
Brad Owens 04/19/11 - 06:57 pm
0
0
This is childish...really it

This is childish...really it is.

Brad

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 04/19/11 - 08:05 pm
0
0
Agreed. Little birdie told me

Agreed. Little birdie told me today that the restrooms dont even work in the new judicial center. Makes sense, since we are peeing in the wind and the excrement is aimed at the fan....

mickl
0
Points
mickl 04/19/11 - 08:17 pm
0
0
Typical Augusta politics, it

Typical Augusta politics, it is standard procedure when you have liberals running things. Just take a look at all the great liberal cities, Detroit, Newark and LA.

countyman
22636
Points
countyman 04/19/11 - 08:51 pm
0
0
Seattle, Denver, Austin, and

Seattle, Denver, Austin, and Dallas are great liberal cities..

Trust me the mayor, sheriff, and majority of the commissioners in Augusta aren't liberal..

The commissioners didn't write the charter which is the problem of every issue they're discussing above in the article...

Riverman1
103096
Points
Riverman1 04/19/11 - 08:59 pm
0
0
I'm all for lawn chairs in

I'm all for lawn chairs in the RuffHouse yard. The public can bring coolers. Maybe borrow some funeral tents from Poteet if it looks like rain.

Asitisinaug
4
Points
Asitisinaug 04/19/11 - 09:15 pm
0
0
5 year olds act more mature.

5 year olds act more mature. These 3 commissoners have no shame in their actions and could care less what is in the best interest of the taxpayers of this community. Simply more of the same from adult children who will never allow Augusta to properly progress.

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 04/19/11 - 09:25 pm
0
0
Could be worse. They could be

Could be worse. They could be meeting at Sconyers Barbeque like they did back in the day....

dichotomy
40640
Points
dichotomy 04/19/11 - 10:03 pm
0
0
I hope they never meet again.

I hope they never meet again. We would all be much better off.

Batman
50
Points
Batman 04/21/11 - 12:22 pm
0
0
.

.

Einstein
0
Points
Einstein 04/19/11 - 10:47 pm
0
0
Somebody has to enlighten me

Somebody has to enlighten me on this issue. Who CARES where they meet? Is there some reason the new courthouse will not be a suitable meeting place? We've spent enough money on it.... Use the building. It seems ridiculous that there was even a vote on this in the first place.

augusta citizen
10450
Points
augusta citizen 04/20/11 - 05:56 am
0
0
dichotomy, LOL, you may be

dichotomy, LOL, you may be right!

bettyboop
8
Points
bettyboop 04/20/11 - 06:30 am
0
0
Same bunch of bovine

Same bunch of bovine droppings.......different day.

Riverman1
103096
Points
Riverman1 04/20/11 - 06:53 am
0
0
Meeting at Super C's might be

Meeting at Super C's might be more appropriate.

gapster
0
Points
gapster 04/20/11 - 07:28 am
0
0
Simple solution - it takes

Simple solution - it takes six votes to pass an agenda item. Officially rename the Municipal Building to the "Courthouse".

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 04/20/11 - 07:59 am
0
0
That is about right for their

That is about right for their ideas. Never mind what is right for the city and what will move the city ahead. Marion repackaged.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 04/20/11 - 08:10 am
0
0
"Mason asked why the conflict
Unpublished

"Mason asked why the conflict was not brought to the commission's attention until last week."

We have known for a loooooooong time that the new courthouse was being built. . . .why the delay????

Asitis said: "Simply more of the same from adult children who will never allow Augusta to properly progress."

Progress for who exactly?

Aparently these three commissioners ARE looking out for whats best for Augusta's cittizens, imo

Uncle Sparky
0
Points
Uncle Sparky 04/20/11 - 09:58 am
0
0
Is it not the Constitutional

Is it not the Constitutional duty of the Sheriff to assign the spaces to be occupied in the Court House. Or has the Commission assumed that duty also? Oh well, it's not the first time they've overstepped their bounds.

Cadence
219
Points
Cadence 04/20/11 - 10:07 am
0
0
Einstein, I would like to

Einstein, I would like to know the same thing. What is this really about? Why is it such a big deal? What does it matter where they meet? I know I must be missing something here.

Einstein
0
Points
Einstein 04/20/11 - 10:24 am
0
0
Why would they not want to

Why would they not want to meet in the new courthouse anyway? It's a new building, so, as soon as the bathrooms are fixed, it should be more comfortable than the previous location anyway. As for the Sheriff allowing them to meet there, I don't believe he has final say on who can and cannot use the courthouse building. Let him tell the commission that they can't meet there. Lol. Doing something that silly would come back to haunt him in future elections for sure. ;-)

Riverman1
103096
Points
Riverman1 04/20/11 - 10:30 am
0
0
Einstein, I think meeting in

Einstein, I think meeting in the Ruff House, named for a black person, is viewed by the black commissioners as an advantage of some kind.

crackertroy
540
Points
crackertroy 04/20/11 - 10:51 am
0
0
WHO elects these clowns and
Unpublished

WHO elects these clowns and how are they making decisions for the hundreds of thousands of people who live in Augusta?

Sweet son
12798
Points
Sweet son 04/20/11 - 12:09 pm
0
0
Those three guys just want to

Those three guys just want to strangle anything that would make commen sense. Us versus them on anything. I hope their district "folk" are proud of them. They are really working very hard to get nothing done.

sgmret
7279
Points
sgmret 04/20/11 - 01:31 pm
0
0
This is just sad.

This is just sad.

sgmret
7279
Points
sgmret 04/20/11 - 01:32 pm
0
0
Really sad.

Really sad.

Einstein
0
Points
Einstein 04/20/11 - 03:20 pm
0
0
I don't have any detailed

I don't have any detailed capacity information, but the building is brand new and it's huge! Have you seen the size of that thing?!? I would assume that the newer construction techniques used would result in a more efficient building, and plenty of places to sit, talk, debate, vote on things ... (or abstain, as is a local custom with the commission) ... And do this all quite comfortably! So what about the name of the building, and the fact that the Sheriff has the key to the place, and, apparent must be asked permission to use this PUBLIC building! These are all truly insignificant points if you ask me.

bettyboop
8
Points
bettyboop 04/20/11 - 03:24 pm
0
0
lol...truth hurts again....

lol...truth hurts again....

Riverman1
103096
Points
Riverman1 04/20/11 - 04:58 pm
0
0
If they move to the Ruff

If they move to the Ruff House what can they use the old meeting room with that courtroom like furniture and layout for?

TrulyWorried
18328
Points
TrulyWorried 04/20/11 - 07:40 pm
0
0
The parking spaces are

The parking spaces are limited too - or did I just dream that?

Einstein
0
Points
Einstein 04/20/11 - 07:43 pm
0
0
Truly, limited parking is

Truly, limited parking is practically a prerequisite for any downtown area nowadays... This isn't just an Augusta problem.

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