Augusta Commissioner Proposes Horse Trade For Disparity Study - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

Augusta Commissioner Proposes Horse Trade For Disparity Study

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It could be a case of horse trading on the Augusta Commission.

Commissioner Joe Jackson says he will support paying for another disparity study, if city leaders vote to hire a director for the Equal Employment Opportunity and Disadvantaged Business Offices.

Jackson says the Consolation Bill calls for a director of those offices. The two women heading the offices now were hired as coordinators, according to Augusta Commission meetings minutes.

"We need to fix the charter. We can either amend the charter to make both of them directors, or we hire somebody," says Jackson, who has been working on the change for several weeks.

But, Jackson has just added the carrot of supporting another disparity study. The current one found minority firms received just seven percent of city businesses, but its findings expire next year.

"I'll support the disparity study, but they'll go hand in hand," Jackson. "Isn't this too much horse trading?" we asked. "I don't think it is because the charter clearly states a director," said Jackson.

The Federal Court has enjoined the city from having any minority set-aside programs, but evidence from a new disparity study could be used to get the city out from under that court order.

Commissioners are scheduled to debate the director versus disparity study issue at Tuesday's meeting.

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