Originally created 09/09/06

Civic center on autopilot

Can a civic center run itself?

We're about to find out in Augusta, apparently.

After experiencing the resignation this summer of center Manager Larry Rogers, it now comes to light that the Coliseum Authority - the board appointed by Augusta commissioners and legislators to oversee the facility - has a committee structure that is crumbling and irrelevant.

Only six of the board's 12 committees had even met this year as of early this week. Despite a history of maintenance problems that frightened off conventioneers, the authority's Building and Grounds committee hadn't met since 2003. Despite marketing and public relations disasters - such as bringing in a Nutcracker performance the same week as one by the local ballet troupe - the Marketing and Public Relations committee had been dormant since 2003. The Budget/Finance committee? Not since last November. Concessions, a huge issue in any such facility? Last December.

Since the success of most meetings is determined in the preparation - and committees are the preparation for a board of this kind - the Coliseum Authority's get-togethers have been wandering, unproductive affairs. Chairman Harry Moore is trying to change that, bless his soul. But he's herding cats, and the cats haven't been meeting in committee.

Is a picture emerging here? A multimillion-dollar civic center without a manager or a governing body that has it together?

Isn't it time for the community to acknowledge its investment isn't exactly in expert hands?

This isn't a case of just having the wrong people in charge, though there have been some huge shortcomings there. This is a case of a governing and management system that is flawed in fundamental ways.

If the arena were found to have this many gaping cracks in its foundation, they'd condemn it.

Is it time yet to go back to the drawing board as to its governance?


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