Mobility sues over open meetings law - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Mobility sues over open meetings law

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AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -

Mobility Transit Services, the company that runs the Augusta Public Transit, is suing the City of Augusta after they claim their contract was unlawfully terminated. 

"The Augusta Commission in a meeting on February 19th improperly terminated their contract," said Mobility's attorney Robert Mullins.  

Mobility signed a five year contract with the city in 2011. Mullins explained to FOX54, the city has every right to terminate their contract at any given point. The problem is, it was done behind closed doors.

"They did that in a closed legal meeting that was not open to the public," said Mullins.  

Mullins said the Augusta Commission violated the open meetings law. Legally, commissioners can only hold a closed meeting to discuss real estate, litigation, and personnel.

"Therefore it would be improper as we allege for the Commission to go behind closed doors to discuss the mere termination of a contract," said Mullins.  

According to the complaint, Commissioner Alvin Mason made the motion to terminate the existing contract.

"We cannot get into the specifics of that but in my opinion, I believe that the lawsuit is frivolous," said Commissioner Mason.  

Commissioner Mason said the real problem is the needs of Augusta travelers.

"What we need is a more comprehensive and robust transit system that addresses expansion, said Commissioner Mason. "Going out to the parts of the city that are not currently serviced and also addresses extended hours."

Changes many travelers would like to see.

"You've got Savannah, Atlanta, they extend their hours after midnight," said bus rider Dennis King. 

Regardless, Mobility's attorney said they hope the judge will rule in their favor and force the Commission to vote in an open meeting.

"The whole reason for the open meetings act is to prevent back door politics," said Mullins.   

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