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Sylvia Cooper: Time for Augusta commissioners to wake up and sing a new song

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(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column of those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Augusta Press.) 

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, and somebody ought to put a firecracker under the Augusta Commission to wake them up to deal with the realities of life.

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19 COMMENTS

  1. It seems that some people are afraid to do anything about Hardie’s antics for fear of their own having a light shine on them. I was very disappointed that Garrett supported Hardie 2.0 for mayor. I hope the voters remember that come election time. The people of Augusta have come to expect corruption so much they don’t even complain about it anymore. It’s sad and pathetic…

  2. One major problem is the number of checking account’s various departments have. There should only be one checking account for the City of Augusta and that alone would stop the unethical and illegal activities.

    • The number of checking accounts are not the problem.
      The problem is, are they all balanced and reported to the administration? Are they reviewed by a second source?
      Are the, primarily utility, Income Accounts balanced and tied to a ledger for cross balancing purposes?
      Are these accounts reviewed monthly?
      Do all checking and income accounts tied back to the General Ledger?
      Most folks do not realize the only legal requirement for full accountability is for FEDERAL money.
      If every penny of federal money is NOT accounted for, the government cuts off the money.
      Think about how much Utility, State, County and SPLOST money goes through the Marble Palace?
      Think about it.
      Think about how this impacts the EXTERNAL auditors and the SCOPE of the audit?
      Thank you Catherine McKnight and John Clarke for beating this drum.

    • Commissioners McKnight and Clarke may not be as bad as the other eight Commissioners , but too often they go along to get along instead of standing up for the taxpayers .
      Two recent examples :
      (1) Commissioners UNANIMOUSLY voted to give the Deputy Tax Commissioner approximately Fifty Five Thousand ($55,000.00) Dollars as a severance GIFT when he was elevated from Deputy Tax Commissioner to Tax Commissioner (at a substantial increase in salary) .
      To my knowledge , neither the State’s Attorney General nor the County Attorney has been asked to opine as to whether the Gratuities Clause of the Georgia Constitution ( Article III ,Section VI ,Paragraph VI ) was (or was not) violated by this Fifty Five Thousand ($55,000.00) Dollar GIFT .
      If a local governing authority has some POLICY that is in derogation of the Georgia Constitution , —- Is not that POLICY null and void ?
      If a Commissioner violates the Georgia Constitution. , would that also be a violation of the Commissioner’s Oath of Office ?
      (2) Commissioners UNANIMOUSLY voted to hold a referendum on whether to increase property taxes by THREE (3) MILLS to fund tearing down the existing CIVIC CENTER and building a new Two Hundred Fifty Million ($250,000,000.00) Dollar Civic Center . Oh yeah —- the big reason for building the new Civic Center was to add 3500 additional seats . And they made a point of not having any other issue on the ballot , so only the most dedicated voter would take the time to vote . Sixty Five (65) percent of those dedicated voters said —- NO NEW TAXES .

  3. I’ve said for several years, there are 8 worthless commissioners who have allowed the carefree attitude of Davis to get where it is. Isn’t what he’s doing worthy of the same punishment the deputy received for filling his tank? Either way, there is more than enough activity to warrant action, serious action

  4. Davis needs to be singing the Jail Houses Blues. The commissioners with two exceptions, need to wake up and find a lawnmower to push and a trash can to fill. Might motivate them to get the Maintenance departments to get moving.

  5. Davis needs to be singing, “I turned 89 in prison doing life without parole…” If he’s prosecuted by the State, “I’m going to Jackson…” (there’s a prison in Jackson, GA); Although his ex is still with us, he apparently has sung, “He stopped loving her today…” Lyrics challenge – I know there are others out there.

  6. When we moved here in 1982, I remember the new experience of writing checks for property and vehicle taxes payable to the tax commissioner by name, not the office. I immediately thought that was an open door for stealing from that office. I always wrote “Tax Commissioner” after the guy’s name, hoping that would prevent the check from going into a personal account or being cashed at a teller window. Now our corrupt officials openly ignore county credit card and purchasing rules and set up checking accounts for their personal use and have the commissioners fund it. Officials who do this and the officials who support them or look the other way are stupid, evil, or evil and stupid. They are successful due to the voters’ apathy, ignorance, or support of their corruption.

  7. I appreciate Mr. James Herman acknowledging my name above. I have worked to the best of my ability to call out wrong doing in our local government by putting on the agenda to do a forensic audit on all departments. I also supported doing a complete audit in the Mayor’s office. Each time there have been several to vote against it. I always love reading Sylvia’s columns for she knows exactly who has pushed hard to see that our local government be held accountable for every dollar that is spent and that the citizens of ARC receive transparency. I can’t speak for anyone else on the Commission, but I do plan on putting it back on the agenda that a complete audit be done. We shall see who supports it this time.

  8. I wish we had more honest commissioners in Augusta like Ms. McKnight. She has and will continue to have a rough battle on her hands, but I would encourage her to keep fighting although she is probably going to be the only commissioner fighting for the taxpayers of Augusta when Mr. Clark leaves office. It seems like Mayor Davis would fit right in with the current administration in Washington, D.C.

    • Commission McKnight and Commissioner Clark both fought for an audit. It does not need to be forensic audit but at least The Recreation Department and Environmental Services. The cost of which will be recouped by what is found. We will see how the new incoming Commissioners vote on the audits. July 13th is Sammie Sias day.

  9. I went to a commission meeting. You can’t see the commissioners or the mayor. They are behind glass and their faces are covered by computers. You hear voices but don’t know where they are coming from. Or is it just me?

  10. I’ll tell you where one place in Augusta, GA. gets plenty of grass watering and upkeep, just come out of Augusta Regional airport and go towards Gordon Hwy. That stretch to the Waterworks plant sure does look good for all the people coming into town. The rest of Augusta, oh well………
    Sylvia, please keep the pedal to the metal on these shenanigans in Augusta government. One day they will all be exposed and hopefully prosecuted to the full extent of the law!

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