AUGUSTA, Ga (WRDW / WAGT) – Augusta commissioners are pushed back by residents of District Four.
“We’re not here because we want to be here … we’re here just because there’s an uproar in our community.”
Cry out in our community.
These are Tuesday’s words from “Concerned Citizens of District 4”. The group says it disagrees with how city leaders chose the new district commissioner. You may remember that last month they voted to nominate Alvin Mason to replace suspended commissioner Sammie Sias.
Now, the people of District Four are expressing their desire to have more voice in the process. So what does the band say they want to do?
Transparency. It was their main call to action on Tuesday. They said the swift appointment of Sias’ replacement left little time or room for voters in District Four to voice their opinions on who should represent them.
Stick together and call for more transparency.
“We want to be involved not in some but in all of the decisions that are made on issues that affect our communities,” said Rozalyn Shepard, Community Liaison Officer.
About 30 people, including community leaders, gathered alongside the Augusta Neighborhood Alliance to voice their concerns, which they say have been ignored.
“We have had enough. We want our elected officials to come to us, let us know what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, and when they do, that’s all we ask, ”said Gene Lory, President of Neighborhood Alliance.
Concerned citizens of District 4 are unhappy with the appointment of Sammie Sias’ commissioned replacement.
“We want to be heard, we want to be heard. Don’t ignore us.
But they’re not unhappy that Alvin Mason was named, they’re unhappy with how he was named. Following Sias’s suspension, the governor advised the commissioners to make an appointment. They appointed former District 4 commissioner Alvin Mason a week after Sias was suspended.
The alliance says it was rushed. But some commissioners say they have had time to voice their concerns.
“It’s just one of those things that we have to understand, it’s a system, it’s a process, we can’t wait until the last minute to voice our concerns,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams, District 2.
On the day of the nomination, Super District 9 commissioner Francine Scott made a motion to delay him for a week to get public opinion, but the motion failed.
“I represented you, you were not without representation,” said Commissioner Scott.
She says that in the future she would like to make sure everyone understands the appointment process.
“Well when you know better you do better and I think that’s a lesson learned,” she said.
State policy does not require commissioners to obtain public opinion for appointments. Many commissioners said at the time that they did not want to leave a hole in the representation of District 4 for too long.
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