Two prominent commissioners on the way out

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, November 05, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---They've become household names: Commissioner Marion Williams with his hard drive drama and Commissioner Andy Cheek with his Ellis Street option. Now their days on the Augusta Commission are coming to a close. News 12 takes a look at what's next.

"All you ever do is hear them fussing and wining and crying about what they could do but you never see them do nothing," said Augusta resident Chris Perdue. Chris is fed up with the Augusta Commission. He is hoping tomorrow's vote ushers in change.

Outgoing commissioner Andy Cheek's wife Terri is turning the other cheek. "I think the city of Augusta is losing a great asset with his passion and his ideas." Ideas like digging up Ellis Street and turning it into a waterway and putting Augusta on the fast track with a new drag strip.

"That's all crazy," Chris said. "Our schools need upgrading, our roads need upgrading."

Mayor Deke Copenhaver told News 12, "It's not a bad thing to talk about lofty goals for the city. One thing I will say is that we have spent too much on feasibility studies." One example: the city spent $25,000 for a drag strip study the city calls flawed.

In this changing of the chairs, at least two new people are certain. Mayor Copenhaver is hoping you'll get out and make your voice heard. It's a Commission with only a 20% approval rating.

"I think they all need to be replaced, and I think we've got a weak mayor to not get them in position to get along and let's have progress with Augusta instead of fighting all the time," Chris said.

"People are willing to complain about the direction of our know I've got one vote and I will cast mine tomorrow, but I would ask that people really stand up and turn out and really come out in large numbers. You can make a difference. This is a pivotal point in Augusta's government, but I need the help of the people," said Mayor Copenhaver.

Terri has some advice for the winners: "Yeah, they've got to have some thick skin!"

"We have to return trust in our government to the people. That is an absolute must," Copenhaver said.

With 17 candidates on the ballot, a runoff is likely.

Tomorrow's Commission meeting has been rescheduled for Thursday, November 8.

The newly-elected commissioners will take their seats in January.

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