Comments of Al M. Gray to the Augusta Commission
No Account, But Headed to Judgement, Anyway
Tuesday June, 20 2017
Mayor Davis and commissioners, thank you for the opportunity to speak. I never intended to return to this chamber, yet here I am. One should never say “never”, and that is borne out by the power of events that have shaken you, me and the people of Augusta.
No Account, But Headed to Judgment, anyway sounds like a sermon hearkening to passing into eternity that we all face, but as Mayor Copenhaver once told me, “You ain’t dead yet!”
Older folks used to have a description that was applied to crooked, lazy people. It was that they were, “No Account.”
Your Equipmentgate scandal has assaulted the Rule of Law, not that this body, mayor, administrator, district attorney or sheriff intended that consequence. That result grew out of the cronyism that has destroyed our protective institutions from Washington down. The accountants safeguarding our money threw math out, the lawyers forgot nobody needs them if there is no law, the press lost objectivity and credibility, and pastors escorted the money changers into our temples, not out. Our protectors decided to be No Account.
At Commissioner Sias’ last meeting DA Paine was posed the question, “Is the RULE OF LAW DEAD?” After all, the most powerful, revered man in Georgia politics had $2 million invested in banks and other financial institutions involved with drug money laundering, among other things. The Legislature two sessions ago decriminalized banking crimes in our state, which was number one in mortgage fraud five years running. Then there is Equipmentgate. What happens in Atlanta and Washington is not yours, but what happened in Lincoln County is fully on your account, but you want to be no account for that.
Some of it comes from misguided instinct to protect the defenseless, who are anything but that. Elements of this body and friends of the mayor pro tem rallied to defend her last week, but the fun poked at her soon will rain all over you. The rest of this body is protecting a nice lady administrator with the same instinct. At $187,000 per year and much power, she isn’t defenseless either. She is responsible for about 2/3 of this scandal, in my opinion.
16 years ago, a sweet, attractive planning director supported by the full Columbia County Commission abruptly left her position. Failures proved her plan flawed, deceptive, and outrageous to the no longer defenseless people.
Two weeks ago, we were walking with our dog Lilly. We came upon a flock of molting geese, whose wings were of No Account. Now geese are mean, big and can peck or wing-whip a beagle. One ran out of the woods, but Lilly caught it. The goose wing whipped her and got to the water. Lilly jumped in and outswam it. The goose did something it isn’t supposed to be able to do and that was to dive! While that one was escaping, another goose ran out doing something even stranger. It ran low to the ground, head and all, like a snake! It didn’t want to be seen with its No Account wings.
You are faced with the same thing. This body is confronted by the truth of Equipmentgate. You must do the impossible for the next 6 months and together rise to account before Augusta. Justice must be served and accountability restored. Former Director Johnson must be dealt with, this Administrator must be phased out, her contract not extended, and a forensic audit of the landfill done.
The consequences of the 1/3 of the scandal resting with the Sheriff’s Department are simply chilling. The sheriff must remove those involved.
Lady Justice has been dead in Augusta so long she stinketh like Lazarus. It is time for her resurrection.
Update: At the conclusion of these remarks, Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis, Jr. took umbrage with them and made thinly-veiled threats that, “There will be consequences!”
Mr. Mayor is voteless and toothless! He doesn’t have the guts to call the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in on this OUTRAGEOUS SCANDAL. He could, you know.
Mum’s the word from Augusta’s No Account County Commission, as there was not even a second for Commissioner Marion Williams’ motion to request that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation conduct an Investigation that the Augusta Richmond County Sheriff’s Office botched.
At least one Augusta Commissioner isn’t No Account!