New rule could create commission “chaos”

CSRA News

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Augusta Commission meetings are being described as ‘chaotic’ even ‘circus like’. So here comes a rule change. Will it help or harm?

Commissioners have been talking about their meeting rules for months, now comes a change that some say will make a bad situation worse.

“When the citizens start complaining about ‘it looks like a circus’, it’s time to get control of it and let’s conduct business,” says Commissioner John Clarke.

But the new business will be commissioners making motions without first having to be recognized by the person running the meeting. Supporters say the old way put limits on members.

“That’s control, I mean to make a motion and a second, Roberts Rules say any voting member can make a motion at any time,” says Commissioner Marion Williams.

“What I see coming down the pipe is total chaos. Because anybody can speak out and make a motion about anything,” said Commissioner Bill Fennoy.

“Do you think you need to be recognized for a motion?”

“No probably not, but I understand why you do it, from an orderly standpoint,” says Mayor Pro-Tem Sean Frantom.

To help with the decorum, Commissioner Clarke is pushing a meeting management system, where city leaders would be recognized electronically to speak on an issue instead of raising their hands to be called on.

“And it takes who presses the button in order because, you know yourself, you’ve sat there listening to arguments, ‘I had my hand up first, you called on them first’,” said Commissioner Clarke.

Commissioners are scheduled to talk about the meeting management system in Committee on Tuesday. Clarke says it would cost between $15 and $18 thousand dollars.

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