News 12 First at Five / Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- This week Augusta commissioners voted down a plan to create an advisory committee to watch over the Housing and Community Development. Some of those board members held a news conference to explain what their role is all about.
Irma Williams, Charles Rouse and Barbra Gordon are all on the Citizens Advisory Committee.
"We had to pay money back. We were set up under HUD guidelines. We did not want to be paying money back," Irma Williams said.
Board members were volunteers and had to be appointed by a commissioner.
"I think it's the same way that people elect commissioners to do oversight for the city. No three persons should have the authority to have a say and nobody looks over it," said Commissioner Marion Williams.
"We would go to our commissioners and say this is wrong. We would say they are not following guidelines to the commissioners who appointed us," said Ms. Williams.
Board members watched a number of issues. They would check funding applications for projects at Beulah Grove Senior Home, Antioch Ministry and the Laney Walker/Bethlehem Project.
"We helped a lot of nonprofit organizations. We didn't get any negative feedback from the organizations that we helped," Roue said.
"These were 10 well-educated, highly-motivated people. You're not talking about some 'Johnny-come-lately.' You are talking about people who were committed to this community," Gordon said.
Commissioner Bill Lockett says the Advisory Committee is an extra set of eyes. They would make sure everybody following the rules.
"The Advisory Committee are the people who are out in the community letting my constituents know what's going on," he said.
A tradition of oversight now hangs in the balance.