Augusta leaders grade their progress with a B+

By: Ryan Houston Email
By: Ryan Houston Email

News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, April 24, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Augusta commissioners say they are well on their way of meeting goals for the city. They got together on Wednesday for a five-hour retreat at the Phinzy Swamp Conference Center.

"It's like eating an elephant one bite at a time. You have to start somewhere," said Commissioner Marion Williams.

"This is the first time we've done more than one retreat a year. I think this holds us accountable. I'd give us a B+ to this point," said Mayor Deke Copenhaver.

Copenhaver is referring to their progress on a list of commission goals set back in January. The list includes removing dilapidated homes, reviewing city departments and plans to keep the city's transit system moving.

"We are going to try and complete as much of this as possible," said Commissioner Alvin Mason.

"It's a year process. I wouldn't be able to give it a grade now. We are proceeding forward on all these things," said City Administrator Fred Russell.

All city departments will be reviewed by an outside agency. The HR department was reviewed, which led to a new director and several other changes.

Procurement is up next and that's a problem for Commissioner Williams.

"I'm talking about the commission. They have not wanted to investigate any other departments but procurement. Procurement is the only department we've put on the hot spot," Williams said.

"It's simply an operations review of departments. It doesn't matter which department is first," said Commissioner Donnie Smith.

Augusta transit also continues to be a trending topic. Mobility's contract is up, but they can come back and make a new bid to run the city's bus system.

"I think we do need to look out for the people who ride the bus. We have bus stops that don't have signs," Smith said.

It could be the latest sign that commissioners are committed to working together on Augusta's challenges.

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