Augusta commissioner plans to school colleagues

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, April 14, 2013

Augusta Commission - Augusta seal with skyline

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- An Augusta commissioner says his colleagues have not been following proper procedures. It's all about when to keep talking and when to start voting.

"It's unfair to handle government business and not be able to talk about it," said Commissioner Marion Williams.

Williams plans to remind his colleagues about proper procedure and protocol during commission meetings. He says they must have forgotten.

"Somebody calls for the question, and they want to vote on the agenda item," Williams said.

"We've got rules and procedures that govern the body. You've got the committee structure that allows people to speak as long as they want," said Mayor Deke Copenhaver.

There is a city rule book and it details how motions are made, tabled and also talks about the mayor's authority.

"The mayor is the official chair of the body. It's done, in my opinion, to give equal time to everybody. I'm doing what's fair," Copenhaver said.

Williams says this is necessary because some of his colleagues are calling for a vote and trying to end discussion.

"You can vote not to do it and then vote on the issue. The question is being called, and they're trying to vote on the issue and that is not right," Williams said.

The rules read that a commissioner may call for the question to end discussion. If there is no objection, then it's presumed there is unanimous consent.

If there is an objection, you need a majority vote to keep talking.

"I have not discussed this with Commissioner Williams, who is a friend, but I will," Copenhaver said.

"The city attorney is supposed to know those rules and keep commissioners and the mayor in line, but that doesn't happen," Williams said.

Those who make the rules also have rules to follow.

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