Mayor Hardie Davis has a new city vehicle but didn’t want to talk about his Chevy Tahoe.
“Did you over shoot your price on this?”
“No,” said the Mayor entering the commission chambers.
But after learning that the new SUV cost more than $56 thousand dollars with thousands of dollars of expensive options, commissioners are having a few choice words about it.
“What is the mood of your colleagues on this?”
“Whoo…not happy at all, not happy at all,” said Commissioner John Clarke.
“Now it’s going to almost $60 thousand dollars of taxpayer money we’re spending. We didn’t go through the normal process. He can’t be exempt from the law like nobody else,” says Commissioner Marion Williams.
At the Mayor’s insistence, the vehicle does not have a city decal. State law requires decals on all government vehicles except law enforcement.
Commissioners can exempt the Mayor’s car but state law says there must be a public hearing.
During a heated discussion, City Attorney Andrew MacKenzie said the Mayor qualifies as law enforcment so no public hearing is required.
Commissioner Ben Hasan blasted MacKenzie’s ruling and made a motion he be fired.
“There’s no way you can go out there and say the mayor is law enforcment because the mayor oversees the laws of this elected body. That’s not a good ruling. I think it’s a frivolous ruling. I think it disrespected the city and this government,” said Hasan.
“These are state rules. No one is exempt from state rules. The rules are rules. That’s what they are. State law says you have to do that,” said Commissioner Marion Williams.
“Realize a person is actually trying to avoid the law, for something that needs to be done. He doesn’t have the guts just to say to this commission ‘yes you need a public hearing to take the decal off the mayor’s car’,” said Commissioner Hasan.
A new car creating a very bumpy ride in Augusta.
The Mayor did not allow a vote on the motion to fire Attorney Mackenzie, but this issue is not going away.
At the end of the meeting, commissioner Marion William put the car issue back on the agenda for the next commission meeting.