Tuesday, March 5, 2013

'Big Brother' Watching Augusta's Ethics

After the DeKalb County school district was placed on probation by an accrediting agency, Republican Gov. Nathan Deal last week signed an order suspending six of the district’s nine members and appointed a panel to find replacements. The district and the former school board chairman filed suit challenging the constitutionality of the law that allows the governor to remove local school board members. The Governor could interfere in Augusta. Three commissioners were censured.

An agenda item, carried over from the Feb. 25 meeting of the Administrative Services Committee, calls for the commission to discuss today allegations that Grady Smith, Joe Jackson and Wayne Guilfoyle wrongfully benefited directly or indirectly from city contracts.

“The charter states that the mayor is responsible for the enforcement of ordinances, codes, etc.,” Commissioner Bill Lockett insisted Monday. “I did what I was supposed to do.”

If the Augusta Commission is not willing to police itself and the District Attorney, the Sheriff or any other entity have no guts to get involved in this atrocity on public trust, the Governor could be called to interfere or even the Feds. It is time to put Richmond County to the higher standard of ethic expected from their elected officials.  If we can achieve that in Augusta is just a matter of time to reach all other government's entities, including the U.S. Congress and the Senate.

Many elected officials run their campaigns as: I'm not a politician, I'm a businessman. Well, running city's government it doesn't means ruining the city at taxpayers expenses and gaining easy access to do business with the city.

Some members of the community are willing to see the far reach of justice for taxpayers even if the entire Commission, and the Mayor and the Administrator have to be removed. 

What is appalling for Richmond County residents is the fact that the administrator is a former Police Chief and FBI graduate and ugly enough Fred Russell allow these conflicts of interest to happen under his watch. Unbelievable.  

The Augusta Richmond County Committee for Good Government did not release a statement about the censured commissioners, some of them endorsed by the organization.

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