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Augusta Commission talks about its lawyer, takes no action

Thursday, June 27, 2013 10:46 PM
Last updated Friday, June 28, 2013 12:56 AM
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Augusta’s entire legal staff was booted from a closed-door meeting of the mayor and Augusta Commission on Thursday, but the commission took little other action in its regular meeting.

The hourlong closed session “dealt with the general counsel, and they were his subordinates and they should not have been privy to the discussion that we had, along with the administrator. He was also asked to leave,” Commissioner Bill Lockett said.

With staff out of the room, the commission had local attorney Harry Revell guide them instead.

“We needed someone that was going to present an unbiased opinion and give us some direction as to how to proceed,” Lockett said.

Leaving the session, however, the commission took no action. In the regular commission meeting, Lock­ett motioned to delete his request for a “no confidence” vote on General Coun­sel Andrew MacKenzie from the agenda. The motion passed 9-0, with Commissioner Joe Jackson out.

“I actually know now what it’s like to wait until legal is over,” MacKenzie said after the meeting.

Pending litigation on several large city service contracts saw no discussion in the open session Thursday.

That afternoon, city transit operator Mobility Transit filed a request for a restraining order in U.S. District Court to prevent the city from awarding a new transit bid to McDonald Transit of Fort Worth, Texas. Commissioners declined to add McDonald’s bid award to the meeting agenda.

There was no discussion about a court order Wednesday from Super­ior Court Judge David Roper, who blistered the city’s procurement team for its handling of a multimillion-dollar health insurance bid award. He ordered the city to re-bid the insurance contract by the end of the year.

Commissioner Donnie Smith said that while the commission in part is “hamstrung by what our predecessors did,” it is “going to make a conscious effort to look at all those contracts in a different light. It has certainly mushroomed up at one time.”

MacKenzie said that with large contracts, “a baseline level of litigation” isn’t unusual. “There’s just a lot of money involved.”

At the start of Thursday’s regular meeting, businessman A.K. Hasan rebuked Turner Con­struction, the construction manager for $40 million in renovations ongoing at the municipal building, for its handling of a pre-bid conference with subcontractors at which Hasan said he was discouraged from bidding.

Commissioner Alvin Mason, who works in federal contracts at Fort Gordon, said “dealing with a potential subcontractor then we’re out of bounds.” Commissioner Bill Fennoy said he expected “unfairness” to “be brought to this commission’s attention.”

Comments (9) Add comment
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Riverman1
93494
Points
Riverman1 06/28/13 - 04:09 am
4
1
Anybody who takes a job

Anybody who takes a job working for THAT Commission really needs work.

CobaltGeorge
175532
Points
CobaltGeorge 06/28/13 - 06:17 am
1
1
Wonder

where the idea of "closed door session" originated from?

jmo
18482
Points
jmo 06/28/13 - 06:37 am
3
0
Riverman....

If I was an attorney, this commission is exactly who I would want to work for. It's job security with all the cases they create. lol

soapy_725
44110
Points
soapy_725 06/28/13 - 06:59 am
1
0
soapy_725
44110
Points
soapy_725 06/28/13 - 07:01 am
1
0
We shall, We shall, we shall not be moved.....
Unpublished

just like a bowel bloated with fecal matter, we shall not be moved.

dichotomy
37418
Points
dichotomy 06/28/13 - 07:23 am
2
1
So, thanks to Lockett we had

So, thanks to Lockett we had to PAY an attorney to come represent an attorney we were already paying.

Thanks a lot Lockett. I do wish you would learn to engage your brain before you put your mouth into gear.

soapy_725
44110
Points
soapy_725 06/28/13 - 08:04 am
1
0
Little Lamb
48969
Points
Little Lamb 06/28/13 - 08:30 am
2
1
Just a little housekeeping

Susan McCord wrote:

In the regular commission meeting, Lock­ett motioned to delete his request for a “no confidence” vote on General Coun­sel Andrew MacKenzie from the agenda.

Please, let us not turn "motion" into a verb. You can say "made a motion," or you can say "moved," but "to motion" is not a verb in standard English.

Yet.

Little Lamb
48969
Points
Little Lamb 06/28/13 - 08:55 am
2
0
Trust

From the story:

With staff out of the room, the commission had local attorney Harry Revell guide them instead. “We needed someone that was going to present an unbiased opinion and give us some direction as to how to proceed,” Lockett said.

In the first place, how does Lockett know that Revell's opinion is unbiased?

In the second place, you have to pity Bill Lockett. He doesn't trust city attorney Andrew MacKenzie. What can you do when you don't trust the advice your attorney is giving you?

In the third place, Bill Lockett also does not trust city administrator Fred Russell. He and Alvin Mason tried to have him fired in 2011, but Jerry Brigham and Joe Bowles stood in the way, saying, "No, neither of our two deputy administrators are competent to do Russell's duties."

In the fourth place, Commissioner Lockett doesn't trust Paul Simon to manage the TEE Center and the Marriott parking deck; but Lockett does trust Simon to manage the Patch. How does that work?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The other evening on Channel 6 News, reporter George Eskola asked Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle why he thought Lockett was bringing the "no confidence" motion to the agenda. Guilfoyle said, "I guess it's because MacKenzie isn't telling Lockett what he wants to hear."

Little Lamb
48969
Points
Little Lamb 06/28/13 - 08:57 am
7
0
Jaywalk

Speaking of the TEE Center, I guess Augustans and tourists have gotten used to the crosswalk markings down there. We haven't had a jaywalking accident there recently. Of course, we haven't had any conventions there recently, either.

404Law
226
Points
404Law 06/28/13 - 09:36 am
4
1
The heart of the issue...

The City always seems to get the short-end of the stick, due to bad advice provided by the general counsel. Lockett et al. think the general counsel is working for the best interests of contractors (private business), not the residents of Augusta.

You guys come down hard on select commissioners. But, it's the city administrator and general counsel who advise the commission and negotiate these bad deals. The commission votes on items based on the general counsel's reading and interpretation and the city administrator's reasonable estimates of impact.

You guys waste so much energy chasing fireflies, when the lamp switch is arm's length away. I'm beginning to think that few who post on this site are interested in discussing facts or knowing truth. Maybe posting rubbish on this site gives you (false) comfort in some particular way? Makes you feel better about your own plight?

Let's raise the level of discussion. You tire me.

Dixieman
17306
Points
Dixieman 06/28/13 - 02:38 pm
3
0
Little Lamb:

Or one could say he "moved" that the resolution be tabled or whatever.
Working for the Commission is like remaining in a seriously dysfunctional family. I would not do it for any price.

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