Free Tickets Not Part Of The Changes To Augusta Ethics Policy - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Free Tickets Not Part Of The Changes To Augusta Ethics Policy

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It would add teeth to the Augusta's city ethics policy.

A change approved by the Ethics Subcommittee says not only can an Augusta Commissioner be censured for doing business with the city; they can be barred from doing future business for five years after they leave.

"People want to know when they elect people into office to represent  them it's not about how many contracts you can secure or what you can do for financial gain," says Mayor Pro-Tem Corey Johnson.

Grady Smith is one of three Commissioners censured this year for doing city business, and he doesn't support the changes. "Here's the thing, which rock are you going to choose to turn over? If you're going to turn them over, let's turn them all over and get it on the table," said Smith.

The Ethics Subcommittee took on increasing penalties for doing city business, but did not change the policy, allowing Commissioners to accept courtesy tickets.

"I don't think anybody is going to argue about a ticket. You can't gain anything about getting a ticket, you're not going to gain any financial wealth from that ticket," said Mayor Pro-Tem Johnson.

Not only are Commissioners voting to change the ethics ordinance, there is also a vote Tuesday to rezone seven acres of land owned by the Augusta National Golf Club for tournament parking.

All Commissioners get the chance to see the Masters. They are offered two free badges, and have so been offered for years. It's allowed, even though the ethics ordinance says Commissioners should avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

"The public might preceive that as you're helping the Masters for tickets?" we questioned Johnson. "We're helping the Masters for the economic impact, we can show that," said Johnson.

Commissioners are taking action when it comes to doing business with the city, but taking no action when it comes to the business of getting free badges to one of the hardest tickets in sports to get.

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