Rally Against Government Reform

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December 14, 2005
It’s a debate over a power in Augusta’s government. Commissioner Marion Williams called a rally on Wednesday against what he says in an attempt to reform the government. News 12 has more on this story.

There’s just been one meeting with the current commission. But several key votes could take place at that meeting which could change Augusta’s government in a major way. Commissioner Marion Williams says those changes will be bad news for the city.

“We’ve been hearing about people reaching out to us, there was never understanding that this reaching out was to stab us in the back,” said Mallory Millender, Community leader.

Some called it a rally. Commissioner Marion Williams says it was a press conference to educate people about an attempt to reform Augusta’s government.

“They waiting until after the election to the very last meeting to try and get this done, so the new commissioners wouldn’t have any input,” Williams said,

The meeting stems from a request made by Commissioner Andy Cheek to add several items to next week’s commission agenda for a vote, including promoting Interim Fire Chief Howard Willis to permanent fire chief. And the highly debated issue of giving the mayor veto power. Williams says those changes go against the city’s original consolidation bill.

“The charter has already setup our guidelines. We need to go stick to what the charter has set up unless we go back to the voters and let the voters decide that they want to change that,” Williams said.

Williams says on a commission that’s racially divided, giving the mayor a vote could mean an advantage for one side.

“If it’s a green mayor and you got green commissioners, it’s going to give the green mayor and commissioners the majority vote every time, that’s not fair,” Williams said.

“And the fact that we have two outgoing commissioners, black commissioners that might vote for this is a total affront to our community,” said Barbara Gordon.

Despite speculation, Commissioner Bobby Hankerson says his vote won’t be based on race.

“I think on all the issues. I give them a lot of thought and I weigh all the issues. I listen to everybody and then I vote according to my conscience and this coming Tuesday, I’ll vote according to my conscience,” Hankerson said.