HomeOpinionColumn: Augusta's emergency services contract is no laughing matter

Column: Augusta’s emergency services contract is no laughing matter

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Stupor Bowl 10 has been canceled because what’s going on with Augusta’s emergency ambulance service contract is not a laughing matter.

I’ll begin the latest chapter of this woeful tale that took place Friday at a special called meeting to try to break a stalemate over an emergency ambulance prov...

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26 COMMENTS

  1. Whatever this vendetta is against Gold Cross is hurting the citizens of Richmond County.This childish behavior by this group of commissioner’s who are doing all they can to block Gold Cross has gone on long enough.And this Wayne Brown person appears to be one of those folks.You will notice that every stance he takes is negative towards Gold Cross.We need someone in his current position that is unbiased.Hopefully the state will see through these shenanigan’s and Burden’s connection to Ameripro and award the contract to the 1.9 million dollar contract with Gold Cross.That would be the intelligent thing to do.

  2. We need to give the mayor a vote. The manipulation done by the 5-5 tie is just getting in the way. The mayor is the “ONE PERSON” elected by everyone all at once. That person should have a vote to keep things moving. The argument about Gold Cross is simple. One group wants to spend 10 million in capital to create a giant incompetent and inefficient ambulance service under the Augusta Government Complex that will then lose 4 million a year delivering substandard service to Richmond County residents and anyone who makes the mistake of venturing into the county. The other side wants to leave it to the seasoned, proven professionals who will own that burden for only 1.5 to 2 million a year. Some just love BIG government and some people just love freedom and enterprise.

  3. I agree, it’s time the same five commissioners that impede the progress of everything in this county become accountable to the taxpayers.
    I also agree the City Attorney is not helping matters one bit. He does stop any attempt to move forward as well.
    He could also use legal means to finally rid the city of the former Mayors continued spending and incurred cost, if he wanted. To me, he is as responsible for those actions as anyone. It’s becoming more and more obvious the Attorney is in deeper waters than he’s capable of swimming in.

  4. This is just ridiculous. I want to say it has never been so obvious how politically driven the commission is, but there have been so many really bad decisions.
    How dare they say that just because Stacy Abrams has a lot of control in Dekalb, and helped Jordan become commissioner. Odie, from Dekalb became our highest ever paid Administrator. Antonio, from Dekalb, became our fire chief, even though he was not on the list provided by the company hired by Augusta for the job. In no way does that show that this company that has never serviced a county with more that 22,000 people, has 2/3 the number of ambulances Gold Cross possesses, and has a history of demanding more money after being awarded the contract should not be awarded the contract.

    • AMEN to Michael Thurman’s comments!! The appearance to many is that we are trying to emulate the screwed up cities of Atlanta and Baltimore! Check them out for how they operate. Assessment of qualifications is obviously NOT a part of the selection/appointment process here, with the latest sad examples being Wayne Brown, (ATTORNEY??) or the contracting office chief who would bring forth this expensive/unknown little company recommendation for our ambulance service. Obviously, the bully no show gang of five have no concern for the voters who put them on our council. Mayor Johnson now has a solid picture of his very divided council. First thing now is to put a new rule before the council for vote, giving the mayor a vote!! That will clearly identify the bully five!!

  5. Irresponsible voters elect irresponsible people. The best answer may be to hand it over to the state and while we’re at it, hand over all public maintenance and education too. If you still live in A/RC it’s your own fault. Augusta is still a hate filled town fighting the same old battles . Why can so many towns around us progress and thrive while Augusta wallows.

  6. The lack of a Mayoral vote can be attributed to the original Augusta Delegation and then Senator Charles Walker. It was a way to allow the Commissioners to keep their power. Actually, the most powerful “vote” is the ABSTAIN CARD that has been pulled MANY times by certain Commissioners, so that the Mayor’s tie-breaker vote is negated. PROOF was commissioner Bobby Williams’ “hot mike moment”, where he bragged that since the abstain card had been throw down, he could vote no. Pitiful excuse of behavior by an elected official. YES, The Mayor Must Have A Vote ! I have not seen any media report that ARC officials have placed a second lock on former Mayor Davis’ mini-warehouse — while legally you cannot cut the lock and gain access, you can for DANG sure, make sure that someone from ARC (Marshal’s Office) is there to inventory what is removed. ARC funds were used to prepay the rental charge, so ARC does have this right. Make it so. Do not let Davis pull the wool over your eyes, even AFTER his departure.

  7. Asking for a friend…. If Augusta did not apply for the zone, then who did? Is Augusta still running its own ambulances in addition to Gold Cross? If so, how much is that costing and what is the collection rate?

  8. As a current property owner and taxpayer of Augusta. I would be more than willing to continue to pay for Hardie Davis’s food, housing, and medical care . As long as he is confined in a federal penitentiary!!!!! Where the hell is the FBI and the GBI ??? There’s more than enough evidence for an indictment against Mr. Davis for misuse of public funds and missing funds.

  9. When a commissioner does not show up for a meeting then they need to submit to the citizens of Richmond County the reason why they could not attend. It seems that the new commissioners that were just elected to serve the people of Richmond County who put them there are just following in the footsteps of these commissioners that need to be thrown out of office. No show, no pay.

  10. I will email the following to our GA General Assembly delegates and their leaders tomorrow under my name. I am posting it to encourage other to submit a similar, but paraphrased, request under their name. The only consideration I ask is that you do not comment on my grammar and composition and nitpick details. I did not want or have the energy to create a complete timeline of all events and actions going back 10 years.

    (I am/We are) writing to request that the Georgia General Assembly delegation for Augusta, GA and Richmond County correct an egregious flaw in the 1996 legislation that created the Augusta-Richmond County (ARC) Consolidated Government. Current Commission procedures only allow the Mayor to vote on Commission decisions to break a tie vote among the commissioners. When a tie vote is imminent, certain commissioners abstain from the vote, step out of the meeting to create an “absent vote”, or refuse to attend the meeting to prevent the minimum voting quorum from assembling. This effectively prevents the Mayor from casting the tie-breaking vote and tables the agenda item for a later vote or alternate motion.

    The latest result of these practices resulted in the resignation of Augusta’s last ambulance zone provider, Gold Cross. Gold Cross resigned the zone after a block of obstructionist commissioners would not vote on an equitable contract with Gold Cross that was negotiated by the ARC Procurement Department. These commissioners believed ARC could be the designated zone provider with a subcontracted ambulance service under their control.

    After a rushed and flawed process to award a new ambulance service contract, that assumed ARC would be named the zone provider, five commissioners did not attend an emergency meeting called by the Mayor to ensure that ARC applied for the zone provider designation before the state-imposed deadline. ARC’s zone provider application was not submitted before the deadline, no supporting ambulance service contract was awarded, and it is now unclear if ambulance service is available in ARC and what entity provides it.

    Several of these same commissioners previously blocked votes on financial audits of elected officials’ and departmental spending, when it was clear that public money was used for personal purchases and unaccountable department projects. In 2022, one of these obstructionist commissioners was convicted of lying to the FBI and destruction of records pertinent to their investigation. The current Commission voting structure promotes and protects waste, fraud, and corruption in ARC government.

    Please draft, submit, and pass legislation to make the Mayor of ARC a full voting member of the ARC Commission. This will prevent one or more commissioners from holding the citizens of ARC hostage to their personal agendas and allow ARC to efficiently enact legislation that benefits the citizens in all county districts and maintains the basic services that are the primary responsibilities of our elected government. Thank you for your time and consideration.

    House Speaker – jon.burns@house.ga.gov
    District 126 – gloria.frazier@house.ga.gov
    District 127 – mark.newton@house.ga.gov
    District 129 – karlton.howard@house.ga.gov
    District 130 – lynn.gladney@house.ga.gov
    District 132 – brian.prince@house.ga.gov

    Senate Majority – steve.gooch@senate.ga.gov
    Leader
    District 22 – harold.jones@senate.ga.gov

  11. I agree the mayor should have a vote; however, this big push now for the mayor to vote comes with the hope that this specific mayor would vote with full integrity and competence for the goodwill of city and its taxpayers. Any policy change will have lasting effects beyond the current mayor. Leadership and the power of negotiation is being tested. (Good ol fashioned church politics)

  12. I’m not sure of the best way to fix the EMS provider debacle. It does make me wonder if anyone applied for the zone without ARC on the application. It is rather amazing that 5 commissioners couldn’t be there for a zoom call… especially when 3 of those 5 are retired from what I hear… however I disagree that giving the mayor a vote is the best move going forward. Many of you must have forgotten the recent activities and intentions of the previous administration. While I believe the current administration has good intentions, we cannot predict who we will get in the future and what giving them a vote will mean. We also need a better approach and ways to manage the “abstain” card… perhaps that can be approached within the charter. It is disappointing that we are as divided that we are. I hope the voters remember this in 24 when a few seats are up for grabs. This divide has to stop.

    • No, the Mayor needs a “Vote”. A vote would’ve have been a “non-issue” for former Mayor Hardie Davis — he was not in town enough to worry about him having a vote. He was too busy traveling on the ARC credit card with no receipts. And sadly, the ARC Accounting/Finance Department did not care, and paid the bills.

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