Augusta leaders react to Mayor's call for review of the city charter

By: Chris Thomas Email
By: Chris Thomas Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock, February 08, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga.---First it was state lawmakers, now community activists and local commissioners are speaking out as Augusta's mayor calls for a review of the city charter.

Augusta's mayor is looking to change the way the city does business. Some newcomers to the chambers say not just yet.

"I would say give us an opportunity to show you that this particular government...the way it was set up in terms of the voting can work," said Commissioner Alvin Mason.

"I have worked within the framework of this government for two years, so it's not like I came into office and demanded changes to the government," said Mayor Copenhaver.

The mayor says it's now time to talk. The issues: what he calls an outdated charter and a power struggle--should the city administrator have the right to hire and fire, and the mayor the right to veto and vote?

"I will say I'm not grabbing for power, but I think it would not be a bad thing for the person who is elected city-wide to have the ability to vote."

Commissioner Don Grantham agrees, and supports more power for the administrator. He says city department heads have too many bosses. "I don't want too many chiefs under the Commission the way it's set up," he said.

The Augusta NAACP spoke out Friday, saying, "If it's not broken, don't fix it. We're making extraordinary and exemplary progress in our community. We have a new set of commissioners that should be given a chance to come in and bridge the gap of the social, racial, and political divide."

The mayor sent out an email to commissioners Friday. He provides his full state of the city address, and calls for internal dialogue on the charter. The mayor is asking that commissioners read the current 150 page charter. They will discuss the issue in an upcoming retreat.

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  • by Adam Location: Davenport on Feb 25, 2008 at 03:50 PM
    I dislike Coopenhaver! (but I dislike the NAACP even more)the consolidation was based on racism (the county was mostly white, the city was mostly black), Oh, I know how to fix it, let's make everyone pay higher taxes (this lead to triple taxation in Blyth & Hephzibah), pocket money, and pra the problem will go away. De-Consolidate! Or better yet! Disincorporate. Throw out the city Charter, turn Augusta into farmland. My god, because of the NAACP and local politicians, Augusta has lost over 5000 people since 2000. if that trend continues (and it will only get worse if it does), pretty soon, Augusta will be farmland.
  • by Lisa Location: Martinez on Feb 15, 2008 at 06:58 AM
    Why is it the NAACP has to stick it's nose in it and everything else. Deke has been doing a great job in Augusta and if he thinks things need to be reviewed then I am sure they do.
  • by Adam Location: Augusta, Georgia on Feb 11, 2008 at 05:15 PM
  • by Ty Location: Martinez on Feb 10, 2008 at 04:43 PM
    It would be nice for all people to have access to the charter to read. I think Deke Copenhaver is trying his best to lead Augusta into the 21st century. What's "always been" isn't always the best for the current world.
  • by John Location: Martinez on Feb 9, 2008 at 05:45 PM
    Is the charter available to the public, if so where can we obtain a hard copy or electronic copy? My uninformed vote pro review, because of the discrimination and bigotry that was written in to many old documents. If you know anything at all about the history of Augusta Ga., then everyone should want to review this document. John
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