October 3, 2006
It was a very intense Commission meeting today, with both sides arguing their points over whether to fill District 4's open seat.
The seat has been vacant for over a month now, ever since Commissioner Keith Brown resigned amidst controversy over his residency. Today Commissioner Calvin Holland nominated Calvin Stevenson, a retired military man employed at Fort Gordon, to fill the seat until November's election.
Mayor Copenhaver expressed concern over spending government money to pay Mr. Stevenson for what would only be one commission meeting until November. And some commissioners said they wouldn't vote for Mr. Stevenson because they didn't know enough about him.
"I do not know Mr. Stevenson," said Commissioner Jerry Brigham. "I wouldn't know him if he stood up right now. And I don't feel comfortable appointing him to the seat when we could let the voters speak in November."
"I am ashamed of my colleagues because the seat is vacant and their votes are important," said Mayor Pro Tem Marion Williams.
gloria frazier- "I am sitting here today and I am not represented," said District 4 resident Gloria Frazier. "Look...the seat is empty. District 4 is a huge district."
The commissioners voted on filling the seat twice, and both times Mr. Stevenson failed to get the six votes needed. Some commissioners who voted against Mr. Stevenson said they needed documentation to prove his residency in the district.
Finally, in a 6 to 3 vote, commissioners appointed Mr. Stevenson to the seat.
There is one Commission meeting left before the November election. At that time, Augusta voters will choose between candidates Bernard Harper and Alvin Mason.
Had the Commission not appointed Stevenson to the seat by October 11, the governor could have appointed someone.