Political Notebook: ‘You’re not going to get fired’

January 24, 2014 

Warner Robins City Council members are debating whether they should eliminate an appeals process for department heads who get fired.

Some council members suggested the appeals process is pointless, because they’d be appealing to a board that ousted them in the first place. Other council members suggested severance packages could be important.

Not saying much are the department heads themselves.

Mayor Randy Toms asked whether any department heads wanted to make a statement on the issue. Immediately one wag from City Council: “You’re not going to get fired.”

Toms later invited department heads to speak with him privately on the issue about their concerns.

You can’t fight ‘City Hall’

Even with last week’s Political Notebook item on Mayor Robert Reichert’s renaming of Macon City Hall to the Macon-Bibb County Government Center, a contractor and civic activist who donated his services to clean the building still referred to it as “City Hall” this week.

There was no word on whether the contractor, Chris R. Sheridan, would consider this column’s suggested name of “Steve.”

Reshuffling reservations

Macon-Bibb County commissioners now have designated parking spaces, atop the Emergency Management Agency bunker next to their meeting place in the Government Center.

That was the parking site for EMA vehicles, but EMA Director Don Druitt agreed to move his vehicles elsewhere, Mayor Robert Reichert said. That left just enough room for the nine commissioners and Reichert himself.

Druitt said all those spots will be marked with signs for each official, an announcement that brought a murmured chorus of thanks from commissioners. Reichert said Charlie Deaton’s probably grateful, too. Deaton is the owner of Solomon, Deaton & Buice Insurance, just across D.T. Walton Sr. Way from the seat of government. For years he tolerated members of the now-dissolved Macon City Council (and often police and media) parking in his back lot. Council members had designated spaces along Walton Way, but only seven spots for 15 members. Those spaces will now revert to public parking.

Budget laurels

In a last hurrah for the city of Macon’s Finance Department, now merged with its former counterpart from Bibb County, the city once again won the annual Distinguished Budget Presentation Award, County Manager Dale Walker said.

The award from the Government Finance Officers Association is going to about 1,340 governments nationwide, for budgets presented in the past two years, according to the association’s website. Evaluated by the association’s professional staff, budgets qualify not only for clear presentation but also for providing more information than is legally required.

The long haul

Though Macon and Bibb County governments formally joined Jan. 1, it’ll take a lot longer to get everything rearranged. An indication of how long it might take emerged at this week’s commission meeting, when County Manager Dale Walker mentioned that architect Bob Brown is being retained to keep working on the redesign and reshuffling of court, law enforcement and tax offices. Brown and his firm BTBB Inc. began that work months ago under the consolidation transition task force.

“It would be nice to be all done by Jan. 1, 2015,” Walker said.

“Don’t think that’s going to happen,” Mayor Robert Reichert replied.

Sills reappointed

Putnam County Sheriff Howard R. Sills was reappointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to the County and Municipal Probation Advisory Council. Sills is the longtime chairman of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Legislative Committee and immediate past president of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association. He has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Mercer University and graduated from the FBI National Academy and the National Sheriffs Institute. He also was named Georgia Sheriff of the Year in 2008 and 2013.

Writers Jim Gaines and Mike Stucka contributed to this report.

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