Only three Augusta commissioners attend Bus Tour

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Each Augusta commissioner agreed it was a good idea: taking a bus tour of each other's district to learn more about the issues there.

But when the bus left yesterday for a tour of District 3, only three commissioners showed up.

Commissioner Jerry Brigham says the pile of papers on his desk explain why he was a no show for Thursday’s Commission Bus Tour.

“I am on corporate deadline next week and I am in the process of trying to get my corporate returns filed,” says Brigham.

He is one of seven commissioners who did not attend the tour of District 3--a monthly outing each of them agreed to during a retreat last month in hopes they'd be better aware of issues in each other's district.

So, where was everyone?

“We have been so busy, three or four meetings everyday, yesterday I was not able to do it, I had to catch up on some ‘Jimmy’ stuff,” says commissioner Jimmy Smith.

Taking a day off of work versus going to see something I already know about. To me, its not an effective use of time,” says commissioner Andy Cheek.

“I've made it very plain that I would attend commission meetings, committee meetings, but I’m not necessarily going to outside events,” Brigham says.

Commissioners Holland and Beard tell News 12 they were tied up in meetings.

And though it's one of his initiatives, mayor Deke Copenhaver says he wasn’t disappointed in the turnout.

“Once again, you've got a bunch of busy people and it’s tough to get everybody together,” Copenhaver says. “If we need to make adjustments, we'll make adjustments.

And with working a full time job, Andy Cheek says a change is exactly what's needed.

“If you look at Aiken and Columbia County and a lot of other places…hold the meetings and tours a little later,” Cheek says.

The schedule for these commissioners may only get busier. Coming up within the next few weeks, they have another bus tour, a mayor's forum, and diversity training.

Mayor Copenhaver says that after the diversity training later this month, he will begin planning another commission retreat.