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The lack of civility on this Augusta Commission was underscored Aug. 6, when three members’ discontent with the city attorney boiled beyond what the group could tolerate.

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Mary Davis  FILE/STAFF
FILE/STAFF
Mary Davis

Statements hurled in open session such as “lost all confidence,” “confusion and lack of trust” and “complete, abject failure” prompted some members to apologize to General Counsel Andrew MacKenzie for their colleagues’ insults.

The call for better Commission decorum continued Monday, when members talked about the need to improve the panel’s public image for the good of the city. So we asked commissioners and are asking the public: What should the Augusta Commission do to foster civility and improve its image?

Mary Davis

District 3

Took office:  2013

“The commission needs to treat city employees and fellow commissioners with respect and communicate one-on-one with that person if there is a specific concern. I would like to see leadership/diversity training implemented in our quarterly retreats.”

Bill Fennoy

District 1

Took office: 2013

“The first thing we could do is start respecting each other and not take things personally; the projects that we support or don’t support, don’t take that personally. I think that we could start being more respectful of department heads and other leaders in the community that come before the commission. A lot of the issues that we have about items would have already been addressed if we have more participation in the committee process.”

Wayne Guilfoyle

District 8

Took office: 2011

“If people are serious about doing good for Augusta-Richmond County, it takes eight to do it, but we need to completely change our charter. Reduce that commission from 10 to seven and you’ll see the commission turn around. We’re up there to set policy; we’re not there to micromanage our directors. We have commissioners with too much power and directors having to come up there with minutiae.”

Joe Jackson

District 6

Took office: 2007

“It goes back to respect. You’re only one of 10 and you never at any time disrespect another human being while on the floor or in public. It’s political, not biblical. We all have constituents we need to serve because that’s what we got into, public service, but just because it doesn’t go your way doesn’t mean you have to take it out on your colleagues or staff.”

Corey Johnson (Mayor Pro Tem)

District 2

Took office: 2008

“In my opinion, I believe communicating with one another more than just committee and commission meetings... helps you build trust outside of the commission chambers. If you don’t understand a person and their way of thinking or their concerns for their constituents, then you will tend to be in opposition to their concerns. So building relationships out side of business is extremely important.”

Bill Lockett

District 5

Took office: 2010

“More communication among commissioners. That’s it. This process began on Aug. 26 when we discussed it in administrative services. Day after day, meeting after meeting we’re going to be progressively better. As a result of more communication, there’s going to be more trust. With the trust, we’re going to be like a governing body. This process began on this past Monday.”

Alvin Mason

District 4

Took office: 2008

“Attack the issue, not the individual. Respect the opinions of others even if you disagree. Try and find some common ground on which you can agree and build from there. Be cognizant of the tone of voice in which you speak. In other words, it’s not what a person says that becomes the problem, it is the tone in which they say it.”

Donnie Smith

District 7

Took office: 2013

“I think we ought to articulate issues being discussed in a professional manner and not in an emotional manner. It leads to personal attacks and personal disrespect. We’re talking about an issue; we’re not talking about Commissioner A versus Commissioner B. We need to treat our Augusta-Richmond County staff with respect, because they work on behalf of the citizens of Augusta-Richmond County and the commission. ...We’re working on behalf of 200,000, so we ought to remember that we shouldn’t be posturing for control, working on behalf of special interests, or posturing for future office.”

Grady Smith

Super District 10

Took office: 2011

“I firmly believe in the thing called mutual respect, and once you believe that, everything else falls in line. By now we should all be adults; we should be the leaders in the community, and how we act sitting up there with the public looking at us - I’m ashamed of a lot of what goes on. When the yelling begins, the reasoning ends.”

Marion Williams

Super District 9

Took office: 2013

“The group, the commission gets along fine. We laugh, we joke, we eat dinner together. The difference is when you’ve got different constituents and your constituents’ needs are not being met, versus someone else’s are being met, you might separate yourself for a minute to get the people who voted for (you) what they need. We’re not as divided as people think.”

If you go

The Augusta Commission will meet Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Lee Beard Commission Chamber in Augusta Municipal Building, 530 Greene St. Meetings are streamed live online at augustaga.gov.

Comments (28) Add comment
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Little Lamb
44967
Points
Little Lamb 08/31/13 - 09:50 pm
7
0
Lying Charge

Commissioner Marion Williams made an accusation that city attorney Andrew MacKenzie told a "bald faced lie" to commissioners. But the newspaper accounts never reported what the substance of the accused lie was. What did MacKenzie say that was interpreted by Williams as a lie?

Please tell us, Ms. McCord.

just an opinion
2478
Points
just an opinion 08/31/13 - 10:55 pm
7
1
We lose, they win

Last one out, turn the lights out please. Good night Detroit.

jmo
15081
Points
jmo 09/01/13 - 04:28 am
4
1
Blah, Blah, Blah.

Now I understand. Not.

Riverman1
81489
Points
Riverman1 09/01/13 - 07:54 am
10
3
Larry Sconyers the BBQ Mayor

The contributions of disheveled and homey Larry Sconyers are forgotten. But looking at the current situation maybe we can understand how influential he was. His BBQ management technique kept commissioners civil. He fed them so well no one was going to be bad-mannered around him. They had many informal meetings at his restaurant while devouring those big ole fatty, good tasting ribs while Sylvia would drive around the parking lot, counting cars trying to catch them in a quorum. Then she would go in for some BBQ hash that kept her criticism in the paper low key.

Larry may have fallen asleep during meetings, some say even let one now and then, but you didn’t see anyone disrespecting him and it carried over to the behavior with each other. Ribs, hash over rice, hush puppies and sweet tea have a way of making you smile at the others with the grease all over their mouths because you know you look the same way.

seenitB4
84424
Points
seenitB4 09/01/13 - 07:58 am
6
0
SO TRUE ^

So true about the Barbecue King.....aaahhh the good ole days!

I really miss them.

southern2
5847
Points
southern2 09/01/13 - 08:23 am
11
1
Augusta continues its

Augusta continues its downward swirl with things like HUD, Laney Walker redevelopment, Hyde Park relocation, frivolous Geri Sams lawsuit, and these are just a few examples of the priorities of the 'gang of 5' commissioners and do not represent what is best for the whole city but have to be 'given' as political trade.

They need to get over their, 'our turn', 'time to payback' attitudes and be more supportive of having the 'ENTIRE' city safe, clean, and visitor friendly.

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 09/01/13 - 08:42 am
0
0
Commissioner Guilfoyle's idea
Unpublished

Commissioner Guilfoyle's idea of reducing the number of commissioners would be one of the first things I'd consider. Once that's done, give them all the boot and start over. I've never seen such a large number of self serving people running a city then anywhere else... and no amount of marginal tasty BBQ will change this.

soapy_725
43634
Points
soapy_725 09/01/13 - 08:43 am
0
0
Hush puppies at Sconyer's? Who knew? The NC location?
Unpublished

Hush puppies at Sconyer's? Who knew? The NC location?

soapy_725
43634
Points
soapy_725 09/01/13 - 08:44 am
0
0
White bread and pickles help to conquer the grease.
Unpublished

White bread and pickles help to conquer the grease.

soapy_725
43634
Points
soapy_725 09/01/13 - 08:46 am
0
0
All aboard the Handbasket Express. All aboard!!!!
Unpublished

All aboard the Handbasket Express. All aboard!!!!

Will
75
Points
Will 09/01/13 - 08:48 am
0
0
Little Detroit
Unpublished

This is the perfect storm. Pandering + Animosity = Total breakdown of progress. As much as people don't want to hear it, this is a color thing and it always will be. Blacks will not agree with whites and vice-versa. I think the whole panel should be comprised of Hispanics, Latinos, Indians or some other ethnic group who doesn't have enough populace to side one way or another. But even they, like those we have now, could be bought too....

Little Lamb
44967
Points
Little Lamb 09/01/13 - 09:15 am
7
0
File Photos

If you click on the "Next" button above the picture at the head of this article, you get treated to a collection of old file photos of commissioners. They've even got Matt Aitken and Andy Cheek in there for good measure. I love the photo of Bill Lockett. Sitting next to him is Fred (What, me worry?) Russell idly playing Angry Birds on his cell phone while Lockett is speaking about important (to Lockett) city business. Fred doesn't care.

nocnoc
40510
Points
nocnoc 09/02/13 - 04:55 am
7
1
deleted

submitted to the database.

Susan McCord
119
Points
Susan McCord 09/01/13 - 10:11 am
6
2
Suggestions?

Nocnoc, that is an interesting, developed plan of action - I hope you use the online form to submit it

Riverman1
81489
Points
Riverman1 09/01/13 - 10:30 am
6
1
So You Want Suggestions

The one who breaks the civility rule has to dress like and imitate Miley Cyruss at the VMA the next Commission meeting. I'd let Mary Davis slide since she always represents the women well and is civil enough.

dichotomy
31714
Points
dichotomy 09/01/13 - 10:32 am
4
1
"we shouldn’t be posturing

"we shouldn’t be posturing for control, working on behalf of special interests, or posturing for future office"

Well, 4 or 5 commissioners are sure going to be at a loss as to how to act.

Just what are the words to Kumbayah anyway? I'll join in on the second or third chorus if I see all 10 of our choir boys on the same sheet of music.

Saying the right words has NOT historically translated into doing the right things. I'll believe it when I see it.

And I agree with Commissioner Guilfoyle that we would be MUCH better off with fewer commissioners, and an ODD number of commissioners. The more commissioners we have the better the chances that not all of them will be very bright or very honest. It's easier to keep an eye on 7 than it is to watch 10.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 09/01/13 - 10:44 am
10
1
Tell commissioners what you think?

Just another distraction and delay. They are unfixable.
It would me more beneficial to vote them out of office and never support them again for another one.

Riverman1
81489
Points
Riverman1 09/01/13 - 10:45 am
4
1
Gerrymander down to 7

Gerrymander down to 7 districts and you may delay the inevitable for awhile.

Riverman1
81489
Points
Riverman1 09/01/13 - 10:46 am
0
1
Double post

Dubs,sorry

gargoyle
15661
Points
gargoyle 09/01/13 - 11:30 am
9
0
Who cares

who cares if they get along, They aren't in high school. The problem comes when the future of the City comes up to a vote the decision they render is suspect. A milquetoast Mayor and self serving administrator has exasperated the discord.

LillyfromtheMills
12864
Points
LillyfromtheMills 09/01/13 - 11:38 am
7
0
corgimom
30311
Points
corgimom 09/01/13 - 02:31 pm
3
0
What gargoyle said, who cares

What gargoyle said, who cares if they get along, just do their JOB!

bfnickel
20
Points
bfnickel 09/01/13 - 02:34 pm
2
1
Theresa0992
8
Points
Theresa0992 09/01/13 - 02:57 pm
6
1
Commissioners petulant behavior

The Augusta commissioners are an embarrassment and disgrace to the citizens of Augusta. Their ignorance and arrogant attitudes shine brightly at every meeting for all the world to see. Their witless diatribes would be laughable were it not such serious business they are elected to conduct on behalf of the citizenry. The rooms they meet in will never be big enough to contain their over bloated mindless egos. Our city will only continue on it's downward slide until all these unintelligent people are defeated at the polls.

gargoyle
15661
Points
gargoyle 09/01/13 - 05:10 pm
5
0
Notice no quote from the

Notice no quote from the Mayor about the extracurricular activities during council meetings . One would think it would concern him since regulating the meetings happens to be his elected duty .

Dixieman
13923
Points
Dixieman 09/02/13 - 07:59 pm
6
0
Are you serious?

Resignation en masse would be a good start.

LillyfromtheMills
12864
Points
LillyfromtheMills 09/01/13 - 05:48 pm
6
1
Many of you have no idea

What it means to be a public servant - you are supposed to be there for the betterment (sp) of the city and county. You act like little peacocks - strutting yourself - they asked - I'm telling - it is embarrassing! Augusta needs to kick you out on your heads - get some businessmen/women in there-if the damn light on the Riverwalk isn't fixed - fire the person responsible - many of us have run businesses - and from the looks of you - it's no wonder Augusta is falling into disrepair! I don't know you - just watch from the sidelines and it ain't pretty! Another beautiful city going into ruins and it's your fault! OWN IT!

Riverman1
81489
Points
Riverman1 09/02/13 - 02:18 am
3
0
At the Beach

"Notice no quote from the Mayor about the extracurricular activities during council meetings . One would think it would concern him since regulating the meetings happens to be his elected duty."

Probably at the beach.

nocnoc
40510
Points
nocnoc 09/02/13 - 05:04 am
3
1
Maybe it is OUR Fault

that they are having these arguments?

If there was more tax $$$$ to spend, they would not be arguing with each other on who gets to waste it and where.

We need to be ☺☻ TAXED More ☺☻ and I know just the person to solve this so they can all get along.

Fred Russell.

Just a Joke Fred, just a joke.

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