Originally created 07/09/98

Where's leadership? Where's the mayor? 070998 - The Augusta Chronicle



It's encouraging that the Augusta Commission is finally spending big money to buy labor and replacement parts to upgrade the long neglected infrastructure at the city's water pumping station.

The question on everybody's lips, though, is why these replacement parts and backup equipment weren't ordered last year or the year before? Why was nothing done until the water crisis hit? And, it is a crisis when people's lawns and shrubbery are ruined -- even if Mayor Larry Sconyers has been too blind to see it!

Doesn't he realize that hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of trees and shrubs on city property are also dying?

At the very least, Trees and Parks workers could use untreated water from the canal, or wastewater, to save dying parts of the Garden City.

A government which can't even anticipate that neglect will turn into collapse is a far cry from providing the kind of visionary, "forward-looking" leadership Augusta voters have a right to expect.

Would any of those officials -- elected or appointed -- responsible for the pump station's upkeep ignore maintenance and upkeep of their cars for nearly three years?

There's a terrible public disservice going on here, and there aren't many signs it's getting better.

Utilities boss Max Hicks says he'll give commissioners daily updates on what's being done about the crisis. Why just the commissioners?

A thoroughly confused public needs information, too.

One day there's a sprinkling ban in some parts of the city; the next day odd-even watering is allowed during certain (ever-changing) hours. Or is it an alphabetized system today? -- or a combination of alphabet and odd-even? And what are those hours again?

And then the Augusta Commission will send its water Gestapo out to nail you with a fat fine if you get it wrong.

The only elected leader who has been asking the right questions and publicly speaking out against the water shortage in ways Augustans can appreciate has been Commissioner Moses Todd. Also, this week, Commissioner J.B. Powell is assuming a larger crisis management and media role. They sound a lot more like a mayor than the mayor does.

Larry Sconyers hears no evil, sees no evil; he just doesn't get it.