Secretary of State local office draws questions

Augusta, Georgia Seal graphic
Augusta, Georgia Seal graphic

AUGUSTA,Ga (WJBF) There’s room for local office for the secretary of state on the second floor of the Municipal Building and some city leaders say if it could be a help to local residents why not.

“We ought to be glad they’re coming it puts us in touch with Atlanta and anything we need we can fast track it right though here,” says Commissioner Grady Smith.

This wasn’t a city proposal it came from the staff of Secretary of state Brian Kemp.

“This was a verbal request by Andrew Turnage which is one of the directors of Secretary of State’s office that’s just looking for regional space here in the Augusta area  this would be the third proposed office,” said Central Services Director Takiyah Douse, who handled the request.

But it’s a proposal many commissioners are not ready to accept sight unseen.

“I’ve heard it in name only I have not seen an official request from him I’m not sure how we got this far in the conversation in this conversation,” said Commissioner Ben Hasan.

“Haven’t really seen the request haven’t discussed the request haven’t discussed the request and what’s the purpose,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.

“If we can bring an asset to the community where people don’t have to drive to Atlanta for a service at no additional costs to taxpayers that’s fine but we don’t have all the details to make that decision yet,” said Commissioner Sean Frantom.

Brian Kemp has announced plans to run for governor adding to some commissioner’s unease.

Any worries that this could become a political office and not just a service office?”

“From a 1000 feet it looks like that,” said Frantom.

“Secretary Kemp has made the decision he wants to run for governor and we don’t want to be seen that we’re choosing winners and losers in this process,” says Commissioner Hasan.

Though the state will pay to build out the office space there would be no rent payments to the city, with commissioners doing a lot of head scratching they voted to send the request back to committee and to invite Secretary of Kemp’s staff to come in and explain the proposal.

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