Lawmaker wants to speed up overhaul of coliseum authority

State Rep. Hardie Davis wants the overhaul of the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority bumped up a month.

Mr. Davis, D-Gracewood, said in an e-mail Monday that current authority members’ terms should expire at midnight on May 30 instead of June 30, as a bill being worked out in Atlanta calls for. The seven new appointees should start their terms on June 1 instead of July 1, he said.

Mr. Davis said also doesn’t want the legislative delegation choosing the authority’s chairman, which the bill calls for.

“It suggests a lack of credibility to the appointees and in my sincerest opinion goes contrary to something (delegation chairman Rep. Quincy Murphy) said last week,” the e-mail sent to his fellow delegation members says, “and that is ‘we are capable of selecting good people for this authority.’ Since we can select good people, I cannot in good faith support the delegation deciding who the chairperson is.”

A bill generally agreed to at a Friday delegation meeting would reduce the number of authority members from 12 to seven. The five Augusta commissioners from each super district would choose three authority members each – essentially meaning that the five white commissioners would choose three and the five black commissioners would choose three. The legislative delegation would appoint the seventh member.

The bill also says that to be qualified for the authority, an appointee must be an Augusta resident and “shall have experience in business.”

Mr. Davis says he’ll still support the bill if the dates aren’t changed, but not if the delegation is choosing the chairman.

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