Government SPLOST 7 | | | Editor

Legislative appointments leave many seats untouched

Thursday, June 5, 2014 9:15 PM
Last updated Friday, June 6, 2014 2:40 AM
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Members of Augusta’s legislative delegation named a handful of appointments to local boards and commissions Thursday, but it was barely a dent in the delegation’s 30-plus appointees now serving expired terms.

Topping the two-hour breakfast meeting agenda at the Partridge Inn were two appointments to Augusta’s new Transit Advisory Board, created by the Augusta Commission last year to advise the city about public transit.

A quorum of delegation members, minus Republican members Bar­bara Sims, Jesse Stone and Bill Jack­son, unanimously approved the appointment of mayoral candidate Charles Cummings – who campaigned on improving public transit – at the suggestion of Rep. Brian Prince. Delegation chairman Rep. Wayne Howard nominated former commission candidate Denise Traina to the board, and she was approved.

The transit board has yet to meet because of insufficient member appointments. Each of the 10 Augusta Commission members has an appointment, and several haven’t made them.

The delegation also reappointed State Court Judge Richard Slaby and Jeannie Allen, a member since 1993, to the Augusta Canal Authority. They named Wayne Thomas and Charles Lam­back to seats on the General Avia­tion Commission, which oversees Daniel Field airport.

Rep. Gloria Frazier said she hoped the appointees would provide greater feedback on the canal authority’s activities. She disagreed with Mayor-elect Hardie Davis’ subsequent warning against creating an “artificial mandate” that appointees are required to provide publicly-available information to them.

Davis, who takes office in January after his Senate term ends in De­cember, said generally the appointments “do need to be revisited” and hinted about plans as mayor to “clean up” Augusta’s unwieldy system of boards, authorities and commissions. He would not elaborate.

Thursday’s six appointments leave at least 26 delegation appointees serving expired terms, with many of them ending March 31. Howard, whose brother Karlton Howard’s term on the Augusta Avia­tion Commission is expired, said afterward that he was unaware of the openings but that occasionally, longtime service was an asset.

“Experience means a lot sometimes,” Howard said. “You find a way to bring in experience, and youth.”

Expired delegation appointments or recommendations are serving on the Augusta Aviation Com­mission, the sheriff’s merit system board, the animal control board, the riverfront review board, the Augusta-Rich­mond County Coliseum Au­thority, the Rich­mond County Board of Elec­tions, the personnel board, the planning commission, the Au­gusta Ports Authority, the Tree Com­mission, the library board, the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Historic Preser­vation Commission.

Most of the boards’ bylaws state that members may serve until replaced, although their terms do have lengths, usually four years.

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Riverman1 06/06/14 - 07:28 am
Charles Cummings and Buses

Charles Cummings was appointed to the Transit Board. He should make the meetings fun. Interesting appointees to all positions as Augusta government changes. So to use Commissioner Locket's terminology, the Republican members of the legislative delegation didn't show up. Interesting.

dsterling9 06/06/14 - 08:58 am
Charles Cummings and Transit

I find it hard to believe a person with a known criminal background could be appointed to any part of local government.

dsterling9 06/06/14 - 09:01 am

Could someone please explain the purpose of all these boards and committees? Where can information be found on the formulation and authority of each?

Sonny Pittman
Sonny Pittman 06/06/14 - 09:54 am
Expired terms

I’ve been given the honor and privilege of serving on several local boards and commissions over the years, and thoroughly enjoy it.

The fact-of-the-matter is that it’s hard to find citizens, who want to serve and, as importantly, have the time to serve. That’s one of the reasons why delegation members and county commissioners don’t pay much attention to “expired terms.” If you have appointed fellow citizens, who take an active interest, get involved, and faithfully attend their respective board or commission meetings, why remove them?

I’m thinking of two, fellow members of the Planning Commission – Robert Cooks, our chairman, and Y.N. Myers, fellow commissioner, in particular. Both are legislative appointees, who, I hope, will be reappointed by the delegation. Their experience on the planning commission and faithful service, as well as their ability to make unbiased decisions, is very valuable to our community.

I’m not worried about the fact that some people complain about members, who “stay too long.” There are plenty of “open” seats to be filled on boards and commissions that you might like to serve on. Just pick up your phone and say, “I’d like to serve” and see what happens.

We need more fellow citizens, from all walks of life – young and old alike – to volunteer to serve on our local boards and commissions. It’s a great way to get involved and “give back” to the community.

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