Commissioners ‘too comfortable’ with virtual meetings


AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF) – Last month commissioners directed the city administrator to study and make recommendations on how to get back meeting in chambers, some city leaders now more focused on when than how.

Commissioner Catherine Smith McKnight is leading the charge to go back to meeting in person, saying commissioners are getting too comfortable with virtual meetings.

“Is this going to be the new way of life? Are we just going to do zoom meetings because we don’t want to leave home? It’s easier just to sit at the table and conduct business that way,” said Commissioner Smith McKnight.

Commissioners have been talking about returning to chambers but in a safe way and directed the city administrator to make recommendations and report back. The task is still being worked on.

“We have given the administrator the assignment to come back with a recommendation and I couldn’t understand and see why we couldn’t simply wait until his recommendation is offered,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.

But some don’t feel they need to hear from the administrator when safety protocols like dividers and social distancing seating are already in place.

“Every time we bring something up, we have wait for a report, that seems to be the way Augusta is doing business is let’s wait for a report,” said Commissioner John Clarke.  

But others say a report is needed so all can return safely.

“He wanted to have a plan in case this happens, in case that happens…there was already something established, I didn’t see no reason for a rush,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.

“What’s the rush?”

“What’s the rush? Well I think there’s not been a rush. The commissioners have been on zoom since last March. Think if anything, people are getting really relaxed on zoom meetings,” said Commissioner Smith McKnight.

Now motions to begin meeting again in the Chambers after Masters in April and the first meeting in May failed to go anywhere, the administrators report due back to commissioners next week.

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