Ministers' suit against reorganization faces obstacles

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Three or four Augusta commissioners who oppose the ongoing restructuring of city government were bolstered by an April 1 lawsuit by a black ministers' group alleging the rest of the commission is violating the Georgia constitution by changing the city's form of government without approval by a two-thirds majority.

But the suit, expected also to settle a controversy over whether Mayor Deke Copenhaver actually has the power to hire and fire personnel, is far from being decided.

In a motion to dismiss the ministers' suit filed in Superior Court last week, city lawyers pointed out several errors that Baptist Ministers Conference attorney Serena Sparks probably will have to correct before the case proceeds.

Among them, the city code section plaintiffs are challenging as unconstitutional hadn't actually been adopted at the time the suit was filed, a brief in support of the motion states.

Code section 1-2-36, specifying duties of the administrator to approve reorganizations and pay adjustments up to a certain amount, wasn't voted on until April 19, and required a second reading and second vote two weeks later, the brief points out.

In addition, plaintiff The Baptist Ministers Conference of Augusta, Georgia Inc. is no longer incorporated, having failed to pay an annual fee to the Georgia Secretary of State's office, the brief contends.

On today's administrative services committee agenda are a series of 10 amendments to the Augusta Code that reflect changes detailed in the restructuring plan.

The proposed amendments reassign responsibility for cemeteries, streetlights and road maintenance, licensing for events at city buildings and other functions to different departments.

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Sweet son
Sweet son 05/09/11 - 04:09 pm
The so called "Black

The so called "Black Ministers Conference of Augusta" has failed at least twice in their devisivness. Poor lawyer who does not know how to file a suit and poor internal controls that caused them to "forget" to pay their dues to the Secretary of State!! POOP!

scoopdedoop64 05/09/11 - 10:55 pm
ministers need to stick to

ministers need to stick to preach the gospel. Black ministers especially have committed themselves to "social" gospels rather than preaching Jesus. I not saying ministers should not have a voice or vote but I find it difficult to see them putting more effort into changing the government than into changing hearts. There is nothing "racial" to this at all. It's just the plain facts for anyone who cares to see it.

Asitisinaug 05/10/11 - 01:02 am
These "Ministers" while not

These "Ministers" while not paying any taxes are now wasting out tax money on a frivilous law suit supported by some of our commissoners.

Hey Mr. Mayor, STOP waiting and just start doing because if you wait on this commission, we wont have any taxpayers left in Augusta, only users of government services.

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