News 12 First at Five / Thursday, July 25, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Big changes could be on the way when it comes to Augusta's ethics policy. Three Augusta commissioners were censured for doing business with the city through their private companies.
"I can't support it. You asked me and I'm telling you," said Commissioner Grady Smith.
Smith is one of three commissioners censured for violating the city's ethics code. News 12 was first to uncover Commissioners Wayne Guilfoyle, Joe Jackson and Grady Smith doing city work through their private companies. It was indirectly with the city they were elected to serve.
"There's a difference between a general contractor and a subcontractor. You think I'm here for what they pay me. I'd pay them that much to leave me alone," Smith said.
"Well I didn't believe certain commissioners were going to support it from the beginning," said Commissioner Alvin Mason.
This subcommittee puts together a list of changes. If a public official is found guilty, they can not only be censured but suspended or barred from doing business with the city for five years.
"We don't want our constituents and residents here in Richmond County to think we will just do whatever we want with their money," Mason said.
"I think it would be foolish to turn away someone's bid just because of their affiliation with the county," Smith said.
The final draft will still have to be voted on by Augusta commissioners.