The Monday forum on changes to Augusta government operations was more helpful than may have been immediately obvious.
Sure, only three legislators showed up - Rep. Sue Burmeister, Rep. Ben Allen (45 minutes late) and Sen. Don Cheeks. A fourth, Rep. Jack Connell was absent, but sent a stand-in in the person of David Bell (who made sure the public knew that anything he said couldn't be held against Connell). But 100 or so people packed the commission chamber at the Augusta Municipal Building, and almost all of them were there in support of change - now, not later.
While there appear to be several competing proposals and a couple of bills on the table that would strengthen the office of the mayor and the city administrator, it became clear that legislators are moving closer to agreement on key issues.
Another forum is planned for next week, although the time and place haven't been announced. Perhaps between now and then, lawmakers will get serious and forge meaningful compromises.