This afternoon a sweet little old lady, Ms. Jacquelyn Troupe, had placed herself on the agenda of the Augusta Richmond County Commission, asking to speak regarding transparency and ethics in our government.
Troupe followed Commissioner Fennoy’s remarks concerning the Sias/Jamestown investigation.
“…so before I’m willing to throw anybody under the bus, or before I want to take any memorandums back from any organization, I am going to have to have some evidence or supporting documentation. I just can’t respond to what someone says,” Fennoy was saying.
Fennoy went on. “I mean you come here, you accuse mismanagement of money, you accuse a whole lot of, but there has been no documentations to substantiate this. So, until I can see supporting documentation I’m gonna treat the person as if they are innocent until they are proven guilty,” and with that, Fenoy ceded the floor.
Well, when you ask to address this commission, you can’t pick a ‘good’ day to get up in front of the dynamic…no, not dynamic. Dysfunctional. To get up in front of this dysfunctional body.
So with that-she was up.
“Good afternoon. I love this state,” Ms. Troupe stated with a sweet southern drawl.
“The only thing that I think I would love to say…seats are empty. I just think that new people should come in sometime to fill vacant seats and increase our city and people and get them into our city better.”
There was silence. Another nervous citizen stumbling through a pronouncement. “That’s what I’d like to say.”
Watching, it was getting a little uncomfortable, this senior citizen grasping for the right words in front of a full house.
“And that’s about as much as I know.”
Just when it looked like she had said her piece and the awkward moment would soon be over, Ms. Troupe showed those dastardly southern charms, having lowered the guard of everyone in the room.
“But I would also like to say, if you have sat on a commission seat, or other seats, move over, let somebody else.”
The sweetest sounding evisceration continued.
“A good friend of mine said one day it’s time for the young people to take over. And it’s true.
“It’s time for us to let get younger folks in and lets us old folks just sit down.”
“Thank you so much.” And with that, she was finished.
The chamber was in stunned silence, then ever so slowly evolved into laughter and clapping.
The mics for commissioners and support staff picked up an ‘Alright’ and a lot of chuckling.
And if that wasn’t enough, the mayor recognized commissioner Bill Fennoy, for the proverbial cherry on top.
Fennoy wished to land a remark concerning Ms. Troupe’s statement. Offer. Not land. Offer a remark.
“Yes, the county commission are term limited. You can only serve two terms, I’m in the seventh year of my two terms,” Fennoy stated.
“So I want to assure Ms. Troupe, and everybody in here, that at the end of my second term I’ll be 72 years old. Once I complete my second term I have no desire to run for office, but I do have a desire to work with young folks, to get them involved in the process.”
“So that they could take over,” Fennoy stated.
“We as older adults, a lot of times say young folks need to get involved in this and young folks need to get involved in that.”
“And time they try and get involved in something we kind of push them to the side.” Now that’s rich.
“We don’t want to listen to what they have to say,” Fennoy continued.
“But I want to assure Ms. Troupe that once I’m gone, I’m gone. And I have no desire to seek any office.”
“right.” the mayor muttered.
And that was that. Yet, some felt Fennoy’s contribution to the conversation was interesting. And perhaps a skosh disingenuous.
That part about “but I do have a desire to work with young folks, to get them involved in the process.” That part.
In November of last year, family and friends were gathered in the commission chambers for the swearing in ceremony of newly elected commissioners Garrett (mid thirties) and Clarke (70).
“Fennoy said he could not support it because of Facebook posts Clarke made years before that contained the n-word, a word Fennoy repeatedly used from the dais, drawing audible gasps from the audience,” according to an Augusta Chronicle piece.
“Commissioner-elect Brandon Garrett, who watched the ceremony with his wife and children, was upset that they had to witness that and to have to explain to his children what Fennoy said,” according to the Chronicle piece.
In the parking lot following the ceremony, a still shocked Garrett approached Fennoy, asking his now colleague “whether he could ‘speak to him and explain why he found Fennoy’s use of the n-word objectionable,’ But what started as a civil conversation soon turned to shouting,” according to the Chronicle.
“You don’t tell me what’s uncalled for,” Fennoy screamed at him.
“You don’t tell me nothing. Who are you to tell me?”
Commissioners Dennis Williams and Sammie Sias intervened to break it up.
So, to Ms. Troupe’s point, yes. Agreed. Two seventy year olds stirring it up over race while the city is doing everything it can to move forward?
It is great advice indeed.