Augusta non-discrimination ordinance would require new employees and costs


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Creating a non-discrimination ordinance in Augusta is still a work in progress. 

“I know it’s going to pass I’m not sure exactly when though that’s why I asked for a study group to bring all parties together,” said Commissioner Francine Scott.  

The proposed ordinance would allow those who believe they’ve been discriminated against at a business to take their complaint to the City Compliance Department for investigation it could then go to a mediator or court.  

But even with no rules in place the compliance department says it’s getting five to eight calls a week with complaints of discrimination.  

“I had no idea the compliance department was receiving that many inquiries from people who felt they were being discriminated against across the city I think that means the need for this ordinance is almost without question,” said Matt Duncan of Equality Augusta. 

 But the department director saying  if the new rules are approved at least three new employees trained in handling discrimination complaints would be needed. 

“That’s a new cost?” 

“Well we knew even before that there would be a cost, we didn’t have any idea exactly how much it will cost because it’s generating more work,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.   

 “I’m a taxpayer I don’t mind paying for a police department to protect me from criminals and I would not mind paying for contributing for three extra employees to ensure Augusta is a city that’s welcoming and free from discrimination,” said Duncan.  

The group was scheduled to complete it work in sixty days, but Chairman Francine Scott expects it will take longer.

The proposal says anyone making a complaint would be charged a fifty dollar filing fee.

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