AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Amendments to Augusta’s emergency management ordinance were approved in January, when the coronavirus was far away. But what the commission okay’d gives the mayor powers to change city policy now that Georgia is under a state of emergency, because of the virus.
“I don’t think that was the intention of the commission at that particular point in time,” said Commissioner John Clarke.
For commissioners the biggest change states the Chairman of the Commission, the mayor, has the authority to suspend any ordinance, resolution, rules or regulations.
Two weeks ago commissioners approved the first reading of the ordinance requiring masks in government buildings.
Commissioner Marion Williams said there had to be a second reading, but Mayor Davis said no because of the commission action in January.
“What this body did pursue to establishing the first executive order is that we effectively suspended those rules of normal procedure,” said Mayor Davis during the May 19th meeting.
“We didn’t suspend those rules Mister Mayor,” said Commissioner Marion Williams.
“We absolutely did,” the mayor responded.
Tuesday, commissioner Williams brought the waiving of the second reading back to challenge the Mayor’s authority to do so on his own.
With the mayor acknowledging the second reading of the ordinance needed to take place.
“There’s a process he goes by and it’s suppose to be documented. There’s supposed to be a signage of paperwork, all that stuff that he did not do and that’s why I challenged him on that,” said Commissioner Williams.
Commissioners are scheduled to take up the mask measure again at their next meeting with many members now saying they don’t think requiring one is necessary.
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