Consolidation process shouldn’t have to play the gotcha game

December 5, 2012 

When Macon City Council’s Appropriation Committee declined to pay the city’s share of the consolidation expenses by a 2-2 vote, it was a telling example of why we need consolidation, if only to get rid of a few personalities. Councilman Tom Ellington and Councilwoman Beverly Olson voted to appropriate the $250,000. Councilwoman Elaine Lucas, still smarting from the passage of consolidation, used this opportunity to again express her displeasure with the consolidation plan. The consolidation legislation requires the city pay its share, the other part falls to the Bibb County Commission, so the Appropriation Committee’s denial is only temporary. Councilman Virgil Watkins also voted “no” however for a different reason. Watkins wanted the bidding procedures for the consultant contracts explained. That, however, we expect, was just a clever ruse to keep from opposing Lucas.

The Middle Georgia Regional Commission has devoted a lot of staff time and effort to the process and so have those officials mandated by the legislation to participate. However, the burden also falls on appointed delegates.

The committee meetings have started as early as 7 a.m., such as the last Finance Committee meeting. With schedules having to bounce all over the place, Laura Mathis, the deputy director of the Middle Georgia Regional Commission and staff has had to borrow skates to keep up with the process.

While the Appropriations Committee’s action is really moot, the Middle Georgia Regional Commission does not depend on funding from the city for its resources. These individuals, who have volunteered their precious time and energy to ensure that a potential train wreak is avoided when consolidation is implemented in 13 months, shouldn’t be exposed to an open insult in a meaningless gotcha game.

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