Proposal would give Augusta mayor a vote at commission meetings
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - There are talks to change the city charter to give the mayor more voting power on the Augusta Commission.
Right now, the mayor gets a vote only when there is a tie. But a new proposal sent to the state looks to change the way commission has operated over the past 26 years.
“The mayor has always been kind of just the chairman sitting up there organizing the meetings we’re making or facilitating the meeting,” said Commission, Brandon Garrett, Augusta’s mayor pro tem. “So I think that you know, making some changes this deep into our consolidation is a good move.”
According to a document outlining the proposal, Commissioners Garrett, Sean Frantom, Alvin Mason, Catherine Smith McKnight and Wayne Guilfoyle all support the change.
We reached out to the mayor’s office, and he doesn’t have a comment right now.
The proposal could go before voters as soon as November.
Several commissioners say they either didn’t know about the mayor’s request or don’t agree with it.
Commissioner Jordan Johnson says he found out about it Tuesday night.
“I will say is that it just lacks transparency,” Johnson said. “If the mayor wants a vote on the commission, you know, let’s have a conversation about what that looks like.”
Garrett and McKnight said allowing Mayor Garnett Johnson to vote would help in certain situations.
For example, Commissioner Bobby Williams recently abstained from voting on an ambulance contract for Gold Cross Emergency Medical Service. It avoided a tie, keeping the mayor from voting in favor and blocking the contract.
“I’ve never been a fan of abstaining from votes to prevent somebody else from being able to make a vote,” Garrett said.
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Jordan Johnson says the possible new rule would not solve the problem.
“I think that politics will always be politics, which is the problem here,” he said.
In an email, Commissioner Stacy Pulliam says the change can’t be made without hearing the voice of the people who live in Augusta.
And Jordan Johnson doesn’t know where this goes from here.
“I have no idea how this is going to play out,” he said. “I had no idea this was even going to be presented. So I don’t even know what the endgame is no one has talked to me about it.”
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