Augusta commissioner calls current abstention rules "illegal"

The final arguments are now before a judge who will decide if Augusta commissioners have the right to abstain from voting.

But today, one commissioner is asking the commission to change its defense and side with Woody Merry.

At first it was Woody Merry against the entire commission.

Today commissioner Andy Cheek announced during a committee meeting that he is planning to ask the city attorney to change his position and agree with Woody Merry.

Cheek says that several recent deadlocked votes, including one for the mayor pro-tem and more recently one over a severance package for a fired employee, demonstrate that abstentions have to end.

“The commission as a whole does not agree that abstentions in their current form as a third and distinct voting category is right. The method in which this thing was changed in '96 was illegal. It required seven votes, they had only six,” says Cheek.

“In any organization I’ve been in, there have been abstentions. They're used in every type of organization, government i know. I can't see that we would not have that,” says commissioner Betty Beard.

Judge Overstreet is expected to rule later this week.

Cheek says if the judge does not rule in Woody Merry's favor, he will put a motion before the commission himself to end abstentions.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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