January 10, 2006
Augusta commissioners are still deadlocked on electing a mayor pro-tem. Until that position is filled, the city attorney says committee meetings cannot take place. News 12 is on your side to explain how the delay is holding up some of the city’s business.
“I am the eternal optimist,” Mayor Deke Copenhaver said.
They’re divided and deadlocked, but Mayor Copenhaver still believes the Augusta commission will elect a mayor pro-tem at their next meeting.
“People shouldn’t be too concerned at this point. I would just caution patience to the community. We’ll get it done,” Copenhaver said.
Until then, much of the city’s business is at a standstill. Monday, commissioners were scheduled to discuss nearly 40 agenda items during their bi-weekly committee meetings including a plan to reallocate nearly $1 million in SPLOST money. Those meetings were cancelled because the city attorney ruled there are no active committees with no mayor pro-tem to appoint them.
“All the issues that were to go before the committees yesterday, now will go before the entire commission and the business of the city will get done and that is a primary focus of mine,” Copenhaver said.
Commissioner Marion Williams says there’s a simple solution, allow him to appoint committees because he most recently served as mayor pro-tem.
“The attorney is giving misleading information. If I remain where I am, I should have the right to act as mayor pro-tem,” Marion Williams said. “If they want to play this childish game, I will continue to play it will them all day long.”
Mayor Copenhaver says he’s been told that if a decision is not made soon, taxpayers have the right to issue a writ of mandamus, legally and immediately forcing the commission to elect a mayor pro-tem.
“We’re adults. I know we can handle it ourselves. That would be a legal remedy, but I don’t want to see it get to that point,” Copenhaver said.