Last -- and certainly least

  • Follow Editorials

The Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority now has the glaring dishonor of being perhaps the last remaining dysfunctional unit of Augusta government.

That says a lot about how far Augusta has come, and how little the Coliseum Authority has come.

The Augusta Commission, the Aviation Commission, the Richmond County Board of Education, the Augusta Judicial Circuit -- all have made incredible improvements in the past year or two.

But down at the Coliseum Authority, it's gotten so bad -- with the impulsive firing of longtime key employees, to rancorous meetings, to walkouts and no-shows, to an entertainment complex that's too often idle and is losing $190,000 a month -- that the area's legislative delegation is drafting bills to fix the board in the state General Assembly.

That's a bit like patching the holes in the Titanic -- after it hits bottom. It's difficult to see how the Coliseum Authority can be fixed, absent a wholesale change of members and how they're chosen.

Legislators have responded to this creeping crisis with unusually swift action, thanks to the time and attention given by delegation leader Rep. Quincy Murphy.

We fear, however, they will be tinkering at the edges by merely allowing, as is being proposed, under-performing authority members to be removed by the Augusta Commission, and by running their terms concurrent with the terms of those who appointed them to the authority.

It's much better than the status quo, certainly. But we agree with the sentiments of Augusta Commissioner Don Grantham, who suggested at a recent meeting that the entire Coliseum Authority be removed and reappointed. Barbara Sims, a former commissioner and now a state representative put it succinctly: "I'm for starting over."

So are we.

We also agree with suggestions of shrinking the authority from 14 members. Let's be honest: There are 14 Coliseum Authority members in order to throw a bone to the four legislators and 10 commissioners who appoint them. The tender political ego, in other words, is at the bottom of this problem.

And with all due respect to our state legislators, why in the world should they get involved in running the local civic arena?

"I do not believe that the state representatives ought to have the authority to appoint to any (local) board," says Augusta Commissioner J.R. Hatney.

Agreed.

At bottom, we've got a board that's the product of political patronage trying to run a complicated entertainment complex. Why on Earth, then, are we surprised that politics is getting in the way?

It's instructive that our well-meaning legislators are looking into getting the Coliseum Authority some board training from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia. That's well-meaning, but isn't it a bit late to be orienting this group? And what does that say about the situation -- that the board members responsible for millions of dollars of taxpayer funds need remedial education? If they don't know how to function as board members, they don't need training -- they need to find the exits and hand the keys over to some grown-ups who can concentrate on getting some more lease-paying, concession-selling events into the facility.

The Coliseum Authority is craning its neck to look up at "good enough." But in this competitive entertainment climate -- including a new facility at the University of Aiken-South Carolina just down the road -- good enough isn't good enough anymore. It never was.

We can't settle for merely settling the Coliseum Authority down and achieving adequate yearly progress, or some other plodding government notion of making headway.

This thing needs an extreme makeover. Now.

The best thing the politicians can do is create a better structure and get out of the way.

Comments (10) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 02/14/08 - 06:34 am
0
0
This article could have been

This article could have been written any of the last 20 years. The operation of the coliseum is a very unfunny joke.

JimCox
7
Points
JimCox 02/14/08 - 07:35 am
0
0
If the legislature acts and

If the legislature acts and requires members to be reappointed, every person who has ever served on the authority should be excluded from consideration.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
7353
Points
ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 02/14/08 - 07:50 am
0
0
A proven, private management

A proven, private management company with a contract that requires profit, and incentives based on the degree of profit would work. People who have no idea what they are doing should not be there at all.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 02/14/08 - 08:56 am
0
0
CBBP, a logical approach to

CBBP, a logical approach to running the arena has never been popular.

Bizarro
13
Points
Bizarro 02/14/08 - 10:56 am
0
0
Perhaps if it "accidentally"

Perhaps if it "accidentally" burned to the ground. The insurance would help recoup some costs for the public. It sure ain't serving the public. Even ancient Rome had the sense to provide entertainment for the populace.

Mrs Genevive Bait
0
Points
Mrs Genevive Bait 02/14/08 - 11:14 am
0
0
What we need to do is get a

What we need to do is get a lot of those big army helicopters and pick this thing up and transport it to the Middle East. Then when we drop 50 or 100 hydrogen bombs on the Middle East to solve that problem, we would get rid of the Augusta Coliseum problem, too.

For those namby pamby humanist readers out there I'm not talking about blowing up the staff of the Coliseum. They could stay here and in jail where they belong. And also, as I've outlined before in other H-Bomb proposals, we just need to tell the Israelis a couple of days before so they can all visit relatives in the US or Europe, and then we install big fans to blow the fallout into Siberia. It would work great, and it would mean an end to the problems of the Middle East.

dani
12
Points
dani 02/14/08 - 11:23 am
0
0
Now that, Mrs, is not the

Now that, Mrs, is not the least bit entertaining.

jack
10
Points
jack 02/14/08 - 12:01 pm
0
0
Get rid of all the members

Get rid of all the members and start from scratch. The question I have is who decides which members are not functional and most rancourous? It's the "good ole boy" system that A/RC operates under and unless that changes, nothing on the Coliseum Authority nor it's incompetent maagement will change. The place is dirty, too often out of toilet paper, etc.

MyTake
0
Points
MyTake 02/14/08 - 01:22 pm
0
0
I'm just thankful that the

I'm just thankful that the SPLOST to build a new arena failed. At least the damage is contained in a small place now. But get ready because the TEE convention center may well be just more of the same.

darth_froggy
0
Points
darth_froggy 02/14/08 - 03:23 pm
0
0
Wow Mrs. Genevive Bait, you

Wow Mrs. Genevive Bait, you sound angry. Would you happen to be alone this Valentine's Day? Are you angry and confused? Are you suffering from depression or a stress disorder? Then try new Cyanide pills! Take just one and in 30 seconds all your troubles and shattered dreams will go away! Take your Cyanide pill today!

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs