Commission agrees Williams can run for pro tem in 2007

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December 19, 2006

AUGUSTA, Ga.---There's less than a week to go until Christmas, and it looks like someone brought some holiday cheer to the Augusta Commission.

There were lots of potentially hot topics on the agenda today, and the mayor even sent a note asking everyone to be nice.

It looks like something worked.

Augusta commissioners met today for the last time this year. Historically, the topics on today's agenda would have been sure to cause fireworks.

The big issue was a proposal from Commissioner Jerry Brigham. He asked that the commission officially elect Marion Williams mayor pro tem today...a move that would prevent Williams from holding the title again next year.

However, when Brigham made his recommendation, the other commissioners were silent. Finally, a motion was made to table the issue and have a regular election in January, and that motion was approved.

Williams has remained pro tem this year as a holdover from when he was elected in 2005, but he wasn't re-elected this year because when he abstained in January, he created a 5-4 vote. That prevented the mayor from breaking a tie between him and Andy Cheek.

A mayor pro tem can only serve for two years, and even though this is Williams' second year serving, he says he should get a third because he wasn't officially elected.

Now the Commission has allowed Williams his chance to run for that third year.

Anticipating the controversy, Mayor Deke Copenhaver sent a memo to commissioners.

"Things got a little contentious last week, and it's the Christmas season, which I take very seriously, so I just wanted to remind them to treat each other with dignity and respect, and really to try to set the tone for today's meeting," Copenhaver told News 12.

To read the memo the mayor sent to commissioners, click here.