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Clerk of Commission space issues discussed in tense meeting

Newly renovated suite for legal staff causes tension

Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014 7:26 PM
Last updated Thursday, Aug 28, 2014 1:40 AM
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City officials moved closer to finalizing plans to change recently completed renovations at Augusta Municipal Building during a tense Wednesday meeting.

After Heery International, Gal­lop and Associates, and Virgo Gam­bill Architects personnel were absent Monday for a committee discussion of the changes, all were present for the Wednesday called meeting to review, room by room, a handful of modifications to the space designed as a suite for city legal staff.

Augusta Commission members voted earlier this summer to move Clerk of Commission Lena Bonner into the law suite after she said her suggestions for the clerk chambers had been ignored, including the need for a document vault.

Wednesday, the $500,000 vault located in the center of the second-floor suite across from the mayor’s office wasn’t discussed. Instead, the group reviewed modifications for commissioner mailboxes, new drawer space with a countertop and shelving to be used in the new vault.

Heery had provided a $61,000 estimate for the changes Monday but hadn’t produced any supporting documentation.

The meeting, attended by commissioners Wayne Guilfoyle, Ben Hasan, Grady Smith and Marion Williams, and commissioner-elect Sammie Sias, grew tense when Gambill denied having toured the former commissioner mailbox area on the building’s eighth floor. Bonner said she hoped to replicate the area downstairs and that Gambill had seen it several times.

“Mr. Gambill, I refuse to allow you to sit here and insult me,” Bonner said.

Guilfoyle urged Bonner to “tell him what you want.”

Bonner said she had, “but he’s totally ignored it.”

About that time Sias, a heating and air-conditioning contractor, took the lead and went through a diagram of the suite, asking whether Bonner was satisfied.

Asked by Heery program manager Forrest White for her signature of approval at the end of the 90-minute session, Bonner said she was not quite ready.

“It’s such a fluid situation,” she said, offering to do so after examining mobile shelving selected for the space.

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sassylassie 08/27/14 - 07:50 pm
Did they just say a vault for

Did they just say a vault for $500,000?????
Are you kidding me???? What an insane waste of taxpayer money!! We could build a new animal shelter with that kind of money! And this Ms. Bonner should be ashamed of herself! Who exactly does she think she is to make all of these demands? Our commissioners should get some sense in their heads and see that these contractors are funneling money out of the taxpayers pockets left and right. I am SO DISGUSTED with this city -- does it ever end???? Where is the oversight in these projects? Oh that's right there ISN'T any!!!!

Pops 08/27/14 - 09:30 pm
This Bonner person

seems to have something on someone.......

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 08/27/14 - 09:40 pm

Lena Bonner is clerk of commission. If Lena ain’t happy, ain’t no commissioner happy. In a normal world, Lena would work for the commissioners. But in Augusta, the commissioners work for Lena.

No-Longer-Amazed 08/27/14 - 10:10 pm
I'm confused...

Was Sias there as a contractor? If so, wouldn't that be conflict of interest? If not, why is he there before he is sworn in?

TCB22 08/27/14 - 10:16 pm
Not Royal...

Lena acts like a queen. Honey, please. You have been there way too long.

Riverman1 08/28/14 - 04:41 am
The Augusta Revolution circa 2015

Lena didn't do the work to describe the office requirements because she wasn't there. So she ends taking the space of the Law Dept who did their work. Andrew MacKenzie better start looking for a new job with this new Commission. The storming of the Municipal Bldg. is complete and the guillotine is being readied.

corgimom 08/28/14 - 05:21 am
sassylassie, that document

sassylassie, that document vault is a critical need. Legal documents have to be protected from fire and flood. It is not a frivolous thing.

And no, it would cost far more than $500,000 to build a new shelter.

robaroo 08/28/14 - 07:23 am
As Poorly Run As It Gets

The renovations are a textbook example of all the things you can't do in a project.

Every major project should start out with requirements first. All the discussions and arguments about what should be done have to be worked out and locked in before the design even starts.

Next is the design, which addresses all the requirements. The only discussions should be about how well the design meets the requirements. It's whole lot cheaper to make changes while the design is just bits and bytes in a computer than to wait until construction is already under way. When the design is complete and approved, you are ready to start construction.

The commission is still doesn't know what it wants. It's making requirements changes way, way past when the requirements should have been locked down. They are costing Augusta a fortune.

raul 08/28/14 - 05:37 pm
And on it goes....

And on it goes....

corgimom 08/28/14 - 10:24 pm
People need to stop and

People need to stop and think.

If the legal land plat to your property was destroyed forever, and then you went to sell it, do you think that the seller could get a clear title? Do you think that maybe a neighbor could say "Your property line isn't where you think it is"? How could you prove otherwise?

After the Yankees burned every courthouse that they possibly could during the War, people were thrown into turmoil for decades afterwards. The court documents are full of stories of land disputes and probate tie ups that lasted for years and years before they were resolved.

badmoon426 08/29/14 - 10:09 pm
Document Storage...

...what about off site document storage? Industries regulated by the USEPA and USFDA required a controlled document management system that combines hardcopy with softcopy data retention. This document management system incorporates on site storage as well as off site storage (dependent on the sheer volume) with a document environmental conditions & preservation, retention and security policies.

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