Sylvia Cooper

City Ink columnist and correspondent for The Augusta Chronicle.

Lockett calls for harmony after chastising commissioners

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Augusta Commission member Bill Lockett came on like a hawk in the Aug. 20 commission meeting, publicly chastising commissioners for turning a blind eye to repeated wrongdoings and the media for failing to be government watchdogs. Six days later, he’d turned into a dove with an olive branch.

“I want to make a concerted effort, and I’m going to extend an olive branch to all of our colleagues, to include Grady Smith, that on this day, Aug. 26, 2013, we are going to learn how to get together as a body,” he said at a committee meeting. “We may not be the best of friends, but we can be cordial with each other and come to the realization of why we’re here.”

(All these years on the commission, and they still don’t know?)

And so forth and so on …

“And I know that we all have our individual personalities,” he continued. “No one of us is guilty. We all are to a certain extent, some of y’all far more than others, but we’re not going there today.”

And so forth and so on … and the mayor read the commission’s code of conduct.

NOT EVERYBODY WAS READY FOR AN OLIVE BRANCH: Com­missioner Bill Fennoy said he was particularly surprised to see Lockett’s agenda item concerning commission decorum on Monday’s agenda because a commissioner (Lockett) had criticized him in a “local tabloid” for voting to hire a new company to run
transit.

Lockett was quoted as saying that after the transit vote, he kind of wished a member of “the gang of six,” former District 1 Commissioner Matt Aitken, was still on the board because he knew what Aitken would do.

“But to think I had the support of his replacement and didn’t get it was a complete surprise and upsetting,” Lockett stated in the article.

Fennoy said the District 1 voters elected him to represent their best interests, not another commissioner’s.

During a Friday interview, Com­missioner Joe Jack­son took exception to Lockett’s quote in the same article that stated he didn’t do anything for black people.

“So the two fish fries at Shiloh Community Center to help them raise funds for the roof don’t mean anything?” Jackson asked. “Last week he’s attacking my character in the Metro Courier, and Monday at the committee meeting he wants to be friends and put everything behind us. If you’ve turned over a new leaf, then honor me
and Bill Fennoy for the words you said in the Metro Courier.

“He owes myself and Bill Fennoy a public apology for what he said in the local paper, degrading my character,” he continued. “He just didn’t get his way on a vote. He doesn’t know anything about me, and I wouldn’t do that to him. What I’m about is the Scout law. I don’t disrespect people. If I have a problem, I go talk to them personally.”

Fennoy said he couldn’t care less whether he gets a public apology.

“A public apology would have no meaning for me,” he said. “And it would have no impact on how I do my job – on how I represent the people of District 1 who elected me.”

DON’T WASTE A PERFECTLY GOOD OLIVE TREE: “The way things are, we don’t need to tickle each other with an olive branch, we need to cut the limbs off the olive tree and stop the war,” Smith said. “Sadly, we’re messing up a good county by either playing the race or political card instead of doing what’s good for moving the county forward and being what we should be in the state.

“The main thing is instead of always telling people how smart you are, shut your mouth and listen. By listening, you might hear something that would draw you to understand the other side.”

Commissioner Wayne Guil­foyle said nothing will change unless the charter is amended to reduce the number of commissioners.

“It’s been this way since consolidation,” he said. “The racial divide … We ought to be working for every district. A lot of commissioners do.”

FOLLOW THE MONEY: Com­missioner Marion Williams said several groups around Augusta have been calling commissioners and talking about how they should all get along.

“They come in the back door, so to speak, talking about one thing and end up talking about commissioners getting along,” he said. “But different districts have different needs. I’m talking about whites, blacks, Hispanics. It’s not a race thing. It’s a human rights thing.”

“Anybody in Augusta talking about getting along, it’s all about compromise over the money,” he said. “When the money comes in, it goes in the same direction. Follow the money. It goes to one side of the city. The cuts are made to the other side. And then they say we should have that brotherly love. But when it gets down to the money, people ought to be getting their fair share. That’s the bottom line. It’s not black. It’s not white. It’s green. That’s the problem.”

WHAT TURNED A HAWK INTO A DOVE? Asked why he’d ruffled everybody’s feathers one week and then called for peace the next, Lockett said, “It was just a combination of things that happened over months and months and months. Maybe even back to 2010. I suspected there would be a backlash, but I’m man enough to handle it.”

He said the agenda item calling for commission harmony was written three months ago, but he felt then wasn’t the right time to put it on the table for discussion.

“Sometimes when you’re an addict, you’ve got to hit rock bottom before you can get better,” he said. “And I just thought it was the right time to initiate dialogue and communication. I do believe we are going to be successful as a result of that. Aug. 26, 2013, will be a new beginning for the commission because we will begin communicating and develop trust.

Of course, there’s not always going to be smooth sailing. From time to time there will be bumps in the road. Just like an alcoholic, you slip up, but I believe my colleagues will do our very best to ensure that this will be a success.

“I believe in 30 days from Aug. 26, people will look and say, ‘They’re really doing it. They’re putting forth a collective effort and through the process of communication we will get to know each other better.’

“I’m not saying anything negative about anyone.”

SHE WANTS TO CONTINUE HIS WORK: Dianne Murphy, widow of late state Rep. Quincy Murphy, announced Friday that she’ll qualify to fill the Augusta Democrat’s District 127 state House seat in the special election.

“One thing you could always say about Quincy Murphy: He fought the good fight,” she told a crowd of family, friends and elected officials.

Murphy, 60, is employed by the Richmond County Board of Education. She said she’s looking forward to meeting with the people of Richmond and Jefferson counties to discuss her qualifications and their hopes for the future.

Augusta Commissioner Corey Johnson has said he’ll run for the District 22 state Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Hardie Davis, who plans to run for mayor of Augusta. Commissioner Alvin Mason is also running for mayor.

Williams said he hasn’t decided whether he’ll run for the Senate, the House, mayor or stay where he is.

“I’ve got people pulling at me about the mayor’s job,” he said. “I’m just weighing my options. I’ve got the name recognition. Even the folks that don’t like me, respect me.”

Comments (20) Add comment
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Little Lamb
44975
Points
Little Lamb 08/31/13 - 08:27 pm
13
1
I'm a little slow on the uptake . . .

From the story:

Com­missioner Marion Williams said several groups around Augusta have been calling commissioners and talking about how they should all get along. “They come in the back door, so to speak, talking about one thing and end up talking about commissioners getting along. . . . Anybody in Augusta talking about getting along, it’s all about compromise over the money. When the money comes in, it goes in the same direction. Follow the money. It goes to one side of the city. The cuts are made to the other side. And then they say we should have that brotherly love. But when it gets down to the money, people ought to be getting their fair share. That’s the bottom line. It’s not black. It’s not white. It’s green. That’s the problem.”

Which side is which, Commissioner Williams? Don't talk in code. Talk plainly and boldly. Tell us which side the money comes in from; and which side the money goes to. Also, tell us what kind of cuts you are talking about. If you speak only in code, you are leaving us citizens in the dark.

Be a man. Speak plainly. Not in secret code.

Pops
7594
Points
Pops 08/31/13 - 08:50 pm
13
3
The code is very simple

When they say they are hearing that people want the commissioners to "get along".....what is meant is they.....want them to vote all one way.....the black way........

raul
4465
Points
raul 08/31/13 - 08:52 pm
12
0
Commissioners whose

Commissioners whose constituents contribute little money to the pot, always expecting "their fair share".

dichotomy
31721
Points
dichotomy 08/31/13 - 09:53 pm
14
0
"But when it gets down to the

"But when it gets down to the money, people ought to be getting their fair share."

Yes Commissioner Williams.......ought to be getting their FAIR share.....in proportion to how much they PAID IN..........Sent To You From Southeast Richmond County.....You know.....SOUTH OF SPIRIT CREEK.....where we don't have Stormwater pipes...or adequate police, fire, and ambulance service......or road repair......or ANY re-re-re-development. And where we pay for ALL of our services and PART OF THEIRS.

"Dianne Murphy"

And the LAST thing we need is another SURVIVING SPOUSE SYMPATHY VOTE REPRESENTATIVE. For goodness sake people...go out and find some new blood. Nothing ANY of these old has beens have done has benefitted us. That goes for ALL the current crop of retreads who want to move up the taxpayer food chain including Johnson, Mason, and Williams. Things have gotten worse under ALL of them. FIND SOME NEW BLOOD OR PERISH LIKE DETROIT.

Little Lamb
44975
Points
Little Lamb 08/31/13 - 09:55 pm
12
0
Surviving Spouse

You make a good point, Dichotomy. Just electing the widows of deceased politicians does not advance good government. The widow does not feel the need to advance a political philosophy. She merely asks for sympathy.

Sympathy is what Augusta government needs at this time of despondence.

raul
4465
Points
raul 08/31/13 - 10:00 pm
10
1
I've said it before:

I've said it before: Dichotomy for Commissioner! Seriously.

Little Lamb
44975
Points
Little Lamb 08/31/13 - 10:11 pm
10
1
Board of Education

From the story:

Dianne Murphy, widow of late state Rep. Quincy Murphy, announced Friday that she’ll qualify to fill the Augusta Democrat’s District 127 state House seat in the special election. . . . Murphy, 60, is employed by the Richmond County Board of Education.

How in the world can the Board of Education allow an employee to serve as a State Senator? They have to spend all of January, February, March, and part of April in Atlanta every year — not to mention various trips throughout the year to Atlanta for committee falderall. Who will do their job while they're gone?

jwilliams
750
Points
jwilliams 08/31/13 - 10:34 pm
7
1
Little Lamb Gloria Frazier

Little Lamb Gloria Frazier three time State House (GA) - District 126, Democratic is listed as a Secretary for the Richmond County School System. I am not defending it; I am simply just stating it.

GnipGnop
11779
Points
GnipGnop 08/31/13 - 10:42 pm
11
0
You have to be kidding

Lockett calling for harmony makes about as much sense as Charles Manson calling someone crazy. Yes Marion let us follow the money...starting with the payoff you got for your church while poor people got nothing for their homes they had lived in for 50 years....let us also not forget the insider trading with the drag snack business incorporated on land where you wanted the drag strip before it had even been made public. Wayne is right this city has been screwed up since consolidation...

whozit
147
Points
whozit 09/01/13 - 01:20 am
2
12
Well now

More lectures from the Angry White Boys. I do not know whether Mrs Murphy should be elected or not, but to simply dismiss her as just the widow of a deceased lawmaker makes one wonder about the code words you use also. Above all, Quincy Murphy was respected by people of good will on both sides of the aisle in Augusta and Atlanta. Perhaps you could point out to me where in any government document, from the consolidated charter to the US Constitution, it is provided that a district should get only what it pays into the government in taxes. If this is to be the formulaic used, not only GA but nearly all the Red States are in trouble as they receive far more than they pay into the national treasury.

jwilliams
750
Points
jwilliams 09/01/13 - 06:43 am
5
4
Quote from Commissioner Joe

Quote from Commissioner Joe Jackson, taken from the Augusta Chronicle; City Ink (12, 2012), “I don’t mind playing the freaking race card because it will show the true colors of this commission because you have six people who love Ronnie Strength,” Jackson said. “If you really want it to be about race, I can make it about race. This was a statement made by Jackson concerning the naming of the Sheriff’s Administration building.
Taken from The Metro Courier, 12/2012 Titled Joe Jackson Vs. Aviation Commission. The article started out with Jackson making this statement in an open meeting consisting of Commission members, staff members and women, “This is Bulls- - -!” He went on to say, “This is the type of crap that goes on in Augusta.” He was making reference to the Augusta Aviation Commission’s failure to elect a new chairman at their December 2012 regular meeting, and yes, Jackson uses that card again and blames it on RACE.
And again on 3/4/2013 taken from the Augusta Chronicle Jackson was at it again; Jackson contended that black commissioners Marion Williams and Bill Lockett were pushing for him, Guilfoyle and Jackson to be punished because they’re white. Forget about the fact that they had already admitted to the violations, no matter how small they are, a violation is a violation.
It seems as though every time things do not go Jackson’s way, he takes his ball and goes home yelling the “RACE CARD” all the way, but let us not forget, he told the world on 12/2012 in an article printed in the Augusta Chronicle, “If you really want it to be about race, I can make it about race.” Jackson is asking for a public apology and placing it upon the premise that his character had been degraded by Lockett because as Jackson stated, “He just didn’t get his way on a vote.” Well my dear sir, it seems to me that “YOU” are not practicing what you are preaching; and oh by the way, when will “YOU” be holding your apology press conference. As far as degrading your character commissioner Jackson, you are doing a fine job of it all by yourself.

corgimom
30389
Points
corgimom 09/01/13 - 08:11 am
3
6
If Dianne Murphy wants to run

If Dianne Murphy wants to run for that seat, more power to her.

dichotomy
31721
Points
dichotomy 09/01/13 - 08:28 am
13
1
"from the Angry White

"from the Angry White Boys"

You got that right sunshine. Tired of paying the freight for the dead wood.

boomhauer
650
Points
boomhauer 09/01/13 - 09:52 am
1
0
Disgusta, as this city is
Unpublished

Disgusta, as this city is known around the rest of the state...and now you know why.

gcap
290
Points
gcap 09/01/13 - 09:55 am
7
1
Ms. Murphy should not run!

The commission has too many government "workers" now! They don't get the job done at "work" and have no clue how to make an organization successful. Richmond County is certainly proof of that. What has Ms. Murphy done to lift the RC BOE from the bottom of GAs systems? Does ARC have any professionals (CPAs, MDs, even lawyers) that are willing to run?

griff6035
3944
Points
griff6035 09/01/13 - 10:40 am
3
0
Goverment

You all think you have bad commissioners, take a look at the people in charge in Waynesboro.

Brad Owens
4188
Points
Brad Owens 09/01/13 - 11:10 am
4
6
Pops, you're WAAY off..

When "groups" and all the "business" leaders start talking about getting along, they mean for the African-Americans to sit down, shut up and vote for all the "progress" they keep pitching like $100million dollar TEE Centers and management agreements that pay off their debts from the county coffers.

I have never wanted anyone to get along bad enough to screw the taxpayer to have it so.

Sweet son
9988
Points
Sweet son 09/01/13 - 01:14 pm
4
0
Depend on Lockett!

Open mouth. Insert foot!

Like the old Marion Williams.

GnipGnop
11779
Points
GnipGnop 09/01/13 - 01:21 pm
4
3
Brad you are wrong

That has nothing to do with black or white. That has to do with green. I will be glad when Augusta has a totally black government so people will see that any color can be racist, power hungry crooks and will have only one race to blame...their own.

corgimom
30389
Points
corgimom 09/02/13 - 07:49 am
2
0
"What has Ms. Murphy done to

"What has Ms. Murphy done to lift the RC BOE from the bottom of GAs systems?"

She works there, it's not her responsibility to "lift" anything. She's not a miracle worker. As long as the voters continue to vote in the incompentent members of RCBOE, nothing will change.

Truth Matters
6496
Points
Truth Matters 09/02/13 - 08:45 am
1
0
Getting along

Brad has a good point.
Furthermore, for years the Chronicle bashed certain commissioners for attending out-of-town conferences. Then they turned right around and led the campaign for a TEE CENTER. Albeit a TEE CENTER can be used by any group. My question is if you have so much disdain for any local officials attending conferences, what made you think you could attract similar groups to this city?

It seems the big problem here is that the local paper really wants to drive the agenda. If a commissioner gets on board, be he/she black or white, they won't have an image problem in this town. At least it won't be reported in this paper.

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