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Macon-Bibb commissioners work out consolidation kinks | News

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Macon-Bibb commissioners work out consolidation kinks
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The members of the new Macon-Bibb commission sat down to iron out the last few details before consolidation begins.

They started today by going through the Macon-Bibb charter. A few of the commissioners questioned some of the mayor's powers under the new document, especially when it comes to his ability to dismiss department heads without cause or input from the commission.

"Yes that's new, that's different, but I think it's going to work well, because obviously if the mayor abuses that power, then the citizens, going back to the ultimate check and balance, won't like that and they'll get rid of the mayor," says Macon Mayor Robert Reichert.

Part of the mayor's power includes appointing certain positions, including commission clerk, magistrate judge, and city attorney. However, at least 5 commissioners must approve his selections.

Though both the city and county currently have people in these positions, Reichert says he opened the jobs to outside applicants as well. He will make his selections and the commission is scheduled to vote on them December 31st. That day, the commission is also expected to elect the mayor pro tem, who will preside over meetings if the mayor is absent.

Commissioner Mallory Jones suggested waiting until after the January 14th election for the district two seat, but others say they need to fill the spot as soon as possible.

"So that the mayor pro tem and the mayor can proceed to elect the third member of the committee on committees and then assign different commissioners to committees. I don't think we need to wait for the election," says district three commissioner-elect Elaine Lucas.

Both district two candidates Henry Ficklin and Larry Schlesinger were at the meeting but say they do not mind if the commission chooses the pro tem before their election.

Friday, the group also discussed the official seal for Macon-Bibb County.

The transition team recommended a design submitted after a public contest. However the commissioners and mayor say much of the detail in this picture will be lost when the seal is scaled down into a lapel pin or put on official documents. They discussed possibly using a depiction of Fort Hawkins instead, with founding dates of the city, county, and consolidated government surrounding it.

Before the meeting ended, many members of the group commented on how well they were able to discuss their concerns and opinions today and said it sets a good tone for the future.

The mayor and commissioners will have their official swearing-in ceremony at city hall December 31st at 11 a.m.

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