Macon City Councils rejection of building a new radio shop meandered into strange territory this week.
The administration sought to spend $600,000 on a new building near the relocated Central Services on Seventh Street. The radio shop and Central Services had shared Riverside Drive facilities, but they have to move to clear ground for a major redevelopment.
Now the radio shop has to be out by the end of March, interim Chief Administrative Officer Dale Walker told the City Councils Public Properties Committee.
Council President James Timley denounced the idea, saying the impending consolidation of Macon and Bibb County governments means the city shouldnt decide to build anew without approval from the task force working on consolidation.
Timley piled on with criticism of planning for consolidation and coordination of city-county communication needs.
My main focus would be (that) the transition team has not done its work, he said. Weve really got the cart here before the horse.
Timley specifically said the task forces Facilities and Human Resources committees have failed. He serves on the Facilities Committee himself.
Then, as Timley searched for a phrase to suggest that the new government might end up with an unsuitable building, things got weirder.
What do you call a gigantic thing that nobody uses anymore? he asked.
Albatross? Pink elephant? Walker suggested.
Pink elephant, Timley agreed.
Being hung about with an albatross is a reference to Coleridges Rime of the Ancient Mariner, or perhaps Monty Pythons Live at the Hollywood Bowl. But the term for an expensive but useless item is white elephant, after a Thai kings historic method of bringing down over-mighty courtiers by presenting them with one -- a sacred animal that had to be cared for, but would bankrupt a nobleman in short order.
A pink elephant is more usually seen by heavy drinkers.
In the news
The Warner Robins Redevelopment Agency board was congratulated in the Georgia Department of Community Affairs newsletter.
Gary Lee, the RDAs executive director, proudly relayed the mention to his board last week at its first meeting of the year, telling board members the entry was a congratulation to the board for moving forward.
It just shows where were growing that area and this city, Lee said.
The December newsletter mention actually talks about the citys recent request to enlist the departments Planning and Environmental and Downtown Development offices to help city leaders re-imagine one of its main streets in town.
The offices produced a draft of ways Watson Boulevard near Robins Air Force Base could be beautified and more pedestrian-friendly.
The entry closes by offering other Georgia communities the same opportunity and giving the contact information.
Do unto others
New Perry Police Chief Stephen Lynn is in for some fun at his expense when he makes it to his first council meeting next week.
Mayor Jimmy Faircloth plotted the scheme during last weeks Perry City Council meeting, which was supposed to be Lynns first in his new position. But he was absent after a mishap put his foot in a medical boot.
Im going to talk about him, and I want every member of this council to give him grief, Faircloth said, smiling and gesturing towards the council members.
Faircloth went on to remind council members that theyre quick to poke fun at him whenever he injures himself, which seems to be quite often.
Upping the ante
As Councilman Mike Brashear prepared during Warner Robins precouncil meeting to read the purchase orders in the council meeting, he balked at the number of items he would need to describe.
Theres a lot here, he said, flipping through the list of 20 purchases.
But Mayor Chuck Shaheen pointed out that last year, the council increased by $2,500 the amount of money department directors are allowed to spend without council approval.
If we hadnt done that, it would be much bigger, Shaheen told Brashear of the stack in front of the men.
Shaheen offered a way to reduce the purchases even more. We may want to consider going from $5,000 to $7,500 at some point, he said.
Chain of succession?
Bibb County commissioners are debating adding an assistant director position to the countys Lake Tobesofkee operations, an issue that highlighted potential problems with transitions in government. The lake used to have an assistant director, but Director Doug Furney runs the whole show now.
Commissioner Lonzy Edwards, who has been chairman of the countys Lake Tobesofkee Committee for the past year, said an assistant position has his full support.
That position could be full time just refereeing fights between property owners, Edwards said.
Chief Administrative Officer Steve Layson noted, And another thing, Doug is of retirement age. He considered retiring this year.
Last year, Furney replied, to laughs.
Layson noted that no one is ready to take over if Furney retires, and Chief Financial Officer Deborah Martin said every department needs a No. 2.
Writers Jim Gaines, Mike Stucka and Christina M. Wright contributed to this report.