Augusta Commissioners consider removing Brown from office

By: Jonathan Martin
By: Jonathan Martin

August 25, 2006

Keith Brown's name won't appear on the ballot in November, but he'll remain a commissioner until January unless the Augusta Commission votes him out of office.

The Board of Election's decision has some commissioners rethinking whether Brown should stay in office.

Some may have thought last night's decision was the end for Keith Brown as far as serving as commissioner, but his successor wont be sworn in until January, and Brown plans to remain in office until then...that is, unless the Commission votes otherwise.

Just hours after the Board of Elections handed down their unanimous decision, Keith Brown sat in a city meeting, continuing his job as interim commissioner.

"I continue to believe it is my duty to do that job," he said.

And he is able to do so because the Board of Elections only disqualified him from running in November...they can't oust him from office, because Brown was appointed by the Commission.

But according to an opinion from city attorney Steve Shepard, if Brown is not qualified to run in November, he's also not qualified to hold office now, because the same residency rules apply.

The question now is whether or not the Commission will vote to remove Brown from office.

"It's just been an unfortunate situation as it stands now, but I don't think I would support anything in terms of removing him from the commission at this time," said Commissioner Calvin Holland.

Commissioner J.R. Hatney also says Brown should stay, but Commissioner Jerry Brigham disagrees.

"I think Mr. Brown ought to resign," he said.

Joe Bowles says he's not ready to comment about the controversy, but Marion Williams, who's spoken up for Brown in the past, told us he's prepared to follow the law.

"I've got to get a legal opinion," he said. "I've got to find out if it's legal to do. I cant support anything illegal."

Meantime, Brown says he will not step down. He told News 12 he's currently planning several events for his district.

"My position is to stay here until December 31st and continue to work for the residents of District 4," he said.

Keith Brown is considering appealing the decision made by the Board of Elections. He has ten days to do so.

A few weeks ago Alvin Mason gave commissioners the chance to vote Brown out, and they took no action. But Jerry Brigham says now that the facts are out there, if Brown doesn't resign, he will put this issue on the next Commission agenda.

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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