When the roll is called for Columbia County folks who gripe about everything that has to do with Augusta, don't count us among them.
The fact is that the fortunes of Columbia County are inextricably tied to those of Augusta. And though Augusta is only slowly recovering from a well-deserved, self-inflicted reputation as a hotbed for government dysfunction, that doesn't mean every idea originating in Augusta is automatically bad.
But some are. And just lately, Columbia County governments have emulated a couple of rotten ones.
We mentioned the other day that the Columbia County School Board has hired the same attorney who serves as Richmond County's board. That's OK; Pete Fletcher is a highly regarded expert on school law.
Unfortunately, the board also bought into Fletcher's theory that it can exercise nuclear weapon-like secrecy regarding student disciplinary issues. The already sheltered trustees, thanks to Fletcher, have emulated Richmond County to circle their wagons even tighter.
But few bad ideas from Augusta government have ever been as lousy as the city commission's abstention policy. Built into the bedrock of the consolidated government's charter, this rule allows politicians to derail action by refusing to vote.
Thus, it was with a oh-please-no groan the other day that we saw that Grovetown Mayor George James let a new ordinance on mobile homes fail by abstaining.
Two council members favored the cleanup ordinance; two opposed it. The deciding vote fell to James.
Instead, James refused to vote. The resulting tie deadlocked the issue, which killed it. But the abstention allows James to sidestep responsibility - hey, he didn't vote for it! Or against it!
Come on, guys. Even the harshest cynics must admit Augusta comes up with good ideas every now and then; as the saying goes, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
But the bad ideas from our next-door neighbors are plentiful. Let's try not to copy any more of them, please?
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