As you probably know, there has been much discussion recently concerning the decorum of our city government. Let’s face it – the local and statewide perception of our city government is not what it should be. I hear it daily.
So, I felt compelled to write to you and share my point of view, as I have had the honor of representing Augusta as a commissioner for eight months now.
I decided to run for this position because I wanted to get involved in a way that I could help make good decisions based on what is good for all of Augusta and help us move forward, and that is what I will continue to do.
I learned quickly how much more there is to being a commissioner than I was aware.
I was, and still am, surprised by how much responsibility and power that comes with the part-time job. The 10 commissioners discuss and vote on an average of 40 items each week that range from multimillion-dollar contracts to hiring a new department head to purchasing a new vehicle for any given city department.
AFTER A committee or commission meeting, you, the public, typically hear about the one or two items on the agenda that unleashed different opinions and led to passionate disagreements.
What you don’t hear about are the other 38 or so agenda items that we made decisions on for the betterment of our city by working together.
I’m not implying that we unanimously agree on those other items, but more often than not, if we disagree with one another, we disagree respectfully.
Let me be clear: There are times when I have been disappointed with how a commissioner disrespects a city employee or a fellow commissioner during a meeting, or how a commissioner speaks to the media.
That, in my opinion, is completely unacceptable, not to mention unnecessary. We need to work on that as a group. When we are disrespectful to others as we are conducting city business, it divides us as a commission and as a city, and progress stops.
Augustans, I know you expect more of us, and you should. I do too. But remember, those incidents reflect a small part of the full story, and we need to find the best way to move on when they may occur.
SO, WE HAVE A choice to make here. Do we choose to focus on the good that the commission does that outweighs the not-so-good, and move forward? Or do we choose to focus on the unpleasantries that sometimes occur in the commission chambers?
I choose to focus on the good, and I hope you will too.
We have opportunities for Augusta in the works that deserve our undivided attention and support. We should be excited about the proposed Mills campus, and the creation of jobs and continued economic development with the Rockwood Color Pigment plant, Starbucks and Cabela’s.
We all should want the Georgia Regents University Augusta merger to be a success. The commission has continued constructive discussions on how to make our city cleaner, improve upon our infrastructure and provide even more entertainment, arts and recreation programs to our city.
I am hopeful that if we focus our efforts on those big-picture items, we can be a commission our city can be proud of. Please, choose to focus on the good, support your city government, and let’s all attempt to move forward together.
(The writer represents District 3 on the Augusta Commission.)