Macon/Bibb stepping into uncharted consolidation waters

August 24, 2012 

The first task of naming members to the consolidation task force -- the individuals who will attempt surgery on two governments to make them one -- have been named by the Bibb County Legislative Delegation. Ten of the 15-member committee were already known through the consolidation legislation: Rep. Nikki Randall and Sen. Cecil Staton will co-chair the task force, joined by Bibb County Commission Chairman Sam Hart; Chairman of Bibb Finance Committee Elmo Richardson; Macon Mayor Robert Reichert; Chairman of the city’s Finance Committee Tom Ellington; President of City Council James Timley; Leonard Bevill, board president of the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce; Macon Police Chief Mike Burns, and Bibb County Sheriff Jerry Modena.

The citizens who volunteered for this monumental task are exceptional: Bill Underwood, president of Mercer University; Pearlie Toliver, retired vice president of Branch Banking and Trust Company and vice chair of the Macon Housing Authority board; Roy Fickling, president of Fickling & Company; Jeffery Monroe, partner at Jones, Cork & Miller LLP; and state Sen. Miriam Paris.

If we thought pulling together a consolidation bill was difficult, that will pale in comparison to the work of merging the two governments. There are haints and boogers at every turn.

Fortunately, the path has been trod before. The task force can take what worked in Columbus, Athens and Augusta and not repeat their mistakes. Will there be mistakes? Certainly. Planning the merger is just one of a thousand steps toward implementation. However, the task force represents some of the best minds this area has to offer and the delegation could not have selected better people to join the ranks of the task force.

-- The Editorial Board

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