After silent public hearing, Augusta mayor’s car decal will remain off

Published: May. 5, 2021 at 12:16 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Augusta commissioners took their seats Tuesday in the council chambers for the first time, in a long time. But before they could begin the meeting, they had other matters to cover. The commission held a public hearing over the exemption to remove the Augusta city logo from Mayor Hardie Davis’ car.

This was an issue that caused a lot of buzz two years ago. We spoke to Davis about why he wants to keep the decal off.

“It’s a requirement by state law for us to conduct a public hearing over this,” said Davis.

Since 2010 city vehicles are required to have decals by state law, but in certain cases, there are exemptions to the rule.

“Having it removed, when I first received the vehicle was, again, consistent with what Georgia law provides me an opportunity to do,” Davis said.

Back in 2019, Davis requested the decal be removed for his protection. He told commissioners he’d been threatened on more than one occasion.

In a 6-4 vote they granted his wish and the decal was gone.

“Well I’m a government official, I’m the chief executive officer of Georgia’s second-largest city and I conduct city business with that vehicle. It was provided for the express purpose of that, and it can be used for personal use as well. And so, I’ve done nothing more than just that,” he said.

But back, then neither the Richmond County’s marshal’s or sheriff’s office had anything on record about threats against the mayor. We checked again with the marshal’s office today and still no ‘record of any credible reported threats.’

There have been no issues with not having the decal on, it is consistent with what other cities have done. Our I-team found, most other mayors in Georgia use their own personal cars. In Columbus, the mayor does use a city car, but it has city decals on it.

Even though Davis’ threat claims are unconfirmed a 2019 study from the state and local government review journal found 13 percent of U.S. Mayor’s reported threats of violence.

We asked the mayor if he’d received any threats since the decal was removed.

“I’ve been able to move around the city safely. And I want to continue to be able to do that,” he said.

The public hearing was a chance for you to argue why the decal should be put back on but no one did. So that means the decal stays off. Law requires a hearing on this every year so it will be another 12 months before this comes up again.

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