Bivins, Ussery running for new commission seats

pramati@macon.comFebruary 21, 2013 

Two longtime political figures announced Thursday their intentions to run for seats on the new consolidated Macon-Bibb County government.

Bibb County Commissioner Bert Bivins III, who currently serves in District 2, announced he will run for the new District 5 seat in the consolidated government. Later Thursday morning, former Macon City Councilman Theron Ussery said he is running for the District 4 seat.

Bivins, 70, who has served as a commissioner since 1995, said he had committed to serving for four years when he ran last year for county commission. He said his experience and knowledge of the county will be invaluable for the new government.

“I think it’s real important,” he said. “We’ve got to get the new government starting out as best we can. You have to have communication. I (work with) the judges, the sheriff. That makes a big difference. We work together -- we’ve done it in the past, and we’ll do it in the future.”

Bivins said that even though the new government will do things in a different way compared to the city and county, it will still need people who are experienced in running a government in order to function most efficiently.

“It’s like merging two airlines -- would you get all new pilots, or would you get experienced pilots?” he said. “Experience is more important than ever.”

Ussery, 69, who served on the city council from 1976-95, also touted his experience, especially having served on the council’s finance committee during his entire time in office. Currently, he works as a member of the SPLOST oversight committee.

“I don’t need on-the-job training,” he said. “I have the experience and proven leadership to work with the mayor and commissions to ensure the departments are held accountable and run efficiently.”

Ussery said it’s important for Macon to re-establish itself as a viable business community in order to attract new industry and jobs to the area.

Because the consolidated city now qualifies Macon as a large city, Ussery hopes the new government will be able to be awarded more federal grants. He also wants to work with law enforcement to make the city safer, he said.

Current Bibb County Commissioner Gary Bechtel and former commissioner Elmo Richardson -- who defeated Ussery in a runoff in a 2002 special election for the commission seat -- attended the news conference Thursday.

“I’m known as a team player and for being outspoken,” Ussery said. “I can disagree without being disagreeable.”

Ussery will be challenged by local realtor Mallory Jones, who announced Wednesday that he is running for the District 4 seat. So far, no one besides Bivins has announced plans to run in District 5.

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.

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