Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver (WRDW-TV)
News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- It's a question that dates back years: Who should be in charge of day-to-day operations of Augusta's city government?
Should the city administrator have the power to hire and fire?
What about the mayor?
"We need a professionally-managed government," said Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver. "Right now we have no centralized authority, so no centralized accountability."
Copenhaver is kicking off the new year with calls to clearly define who can hire and fire employees.
"And if that's more palatable to the delegation, to the citizens of this community, then put it on me," he said.
Who can forget last year's legal battle when the Augusta Baptist Ministers Conference sued the city, claiming a move to give the city administrator more power was a violation of the charter?
The Georgia Legislative Counsel thought the mayor should have that power, but a judge disagreed.
"I think we need to go back and look at the charter," Copenhaver said. "It is a document that has been around for years and years."
Sen. Hardie Davis says there has been no official call to look at the charter.
"And I don't believe that it is our position as the legislative delegation to impose by way of threat that we are going to do something," he said.
Copenhaver says he would "love" to have those discussions with the delegation. You see, the mayor blames the charter for much of last year's battles.
"I would say it was a bit rocky at times," Copenhaver said. "Hopefully this year we can come together and really start to work together again."
Keep in mind the legislative session starts next Monday.
The first commission meeting of the new year is Tuesday night, and the mayor is asking commissioners to re-approve a code of conduct that was unanimously approved back in 2006.
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