News 12 at 11 o'clock / Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Augusta commissioners are sworn in and ready to get to work. They have a lot pressing issues to consider in the year ahead. But are new faces, new blood and a new year the recipe to get things done?
"This commission has some good people on it and some not-so-good people. We have some people who care about the government and some people who don't," said Commissioner Marion Williams.
"I'm happy I didn't do anything wrong, I didn't push the wrong button. I didn't talk into somebody else's microphone," said Commissioner Donnie Smith.
The so-called balance of power is restored. There are now five white commissioners and five black commissioners.
The new faces are Donnie Smith, Marion Williams, Bill Fennoy and Mary Davis.
"I think one thing this commission possesses is an open mind and a willingness to do what's in the best interest of Augusta," said Commissioner Bill Fennoy.
"I think everybody is ready to work together and tackle the issues we have. Make a plan for our future and not just for today," said Commissioner Mary Davis.
Old tensions flared when Joe Jackson nominated Corey Johnson for mayor pro tem and wanted to close the nominations with one name.
"I didn't like the way that Joe Jackson made a motion and tried to close it all in one breath. Then the mayor wanted to agree with that. That's some of the systems we have been doing and that's something we will have to work on," Williams said.
Everything else the commission voted on passed unanimously, except the mayor pro tem vote.
Locals say it's now how you start, but how you end.
"Well, a lot of times, things start rocky, but we ended very smoothly today at the commission meeting," said resident Jorae Jenkins.
"From what I saw today, the new commissioners are putting Augusta first. Everyone is excited," said resident Mike Walravem.
"With a woman coming on, I think she'll bring a new set of ideas, especially with the revitalization of the area," said resident Shelita Johnson.
The Augusta Commission is set to vote on transportation, the budget and other major issues. The new commission will be tested soon to see if the old problems are a thing of the past.