Endorsement: Macon Water Authority, District 1

May 9, 2014 

Macon Water Authority, District 1

There are two candidates for the District 1 seat on the Macon Water Authority. Newcomer Anissa Jones is challenging Dorothy Black who has served on the MWA board for 18 years. Jones is a chiropractor but also owns several other businesses and has a Wesleyan MBA. This is not her first foray into politics. She ran for the District 143 seat in the state Legislature.

Jones wants to continue the leadership example set by the late Frank Amerson. She is pro business and involved in the community. She wants to partner with different agencies to tell the story of the MWA. “People don’t understand what the agency does,” Jones says. That was a common lament of many of the candidates. She would like to see a more aggressive business recruitment effort by the authority and would also like to see it develop a Georgia Power type plan that would allow customers to donate a small amout to help the poor pay their water bills. She says she has the vision to take the MWA to the next level.

Dorothy Black is a retired educator who has served on the MWA board’s pension and finance committees. She’s been on the authority when it started Macon Soils, a not-for-profit entity of MWA that supplies treated biosolids to farmers for fertilizer for free and when it started marketing its water to other counties.

Her main goal is to keep water rates low. She would like to see an automated system that would call customers before their water is cut off for nonpayment. She also championed a system where late fees can be waived under certain circumstances. As a former educator, she says she is a natural collaborator.

While, Jones presents a fresh face on the scene, we can see no reason to oust Black who has been a big part of the success of the authority over the years. It seems the only knock against her is age (Black is 80), but her experience, particularly during this transition period, is needed. We endorse Dorothy Black.

Citizens Advisory Board: Betty Toussaint, Hill Kaplan, Giles O’Neal, Leroy Mack, Amy Elton, Philip Lengel, Bill Curry, Gene Strouss. Editorial Board: Don Bailey, Sherrie Marshall, Charles E. Richardson.

Macon Water Authority, District 3

When Steve Rickman decided to resign his seat and run for water authority chairman, four residents emerged wanting to fill that void: Alan Thiese, Dwight Jones, Ed Hatcher and Steve Skalko. This is one of those races where a number of the candidates could step in and do a great job.

Skalko is a Georgia Tech-trained civil engineer who also has a master’s degree in administration. He was a city employee for 12 years and is well respected. He realizes, as a board member, that he’s not there to run the authority but he feels with his engineering background he could bring that expertise into the board-room.

Hatcher, also has experience in infrastructure, working for Industrial Mine and Pipe Supply. He would know his way around -- from a mechanical standpoint -- of the various facilities operated by the MWA. However, his company does not sell the same type of equipment used by the authority.

He’s a lifelong Macon resident and has been active in coaching youth sports. He would like to educate the public on the proper disposal of grease and other items that find themselves clogging up the authority’s sewer lines.

Thiese, brings his personality, one that is always affable, and his ability to learn to the board table. He retired from the U.S. Navy after serving on three ships. He also retired from Brown & Williamson. He would try to speed up repair times and touts his ability to think through issues.

Jones doesn’t say he knows a thing about pipe-fitting. However, he describes himself as a “policy-governance guru.” He’s a licensed general contractor who learned the business at his father’s (Charles Jones) knee. His emphasis is middle class job creation. Like all of the candidates, Jones is against the efforts that would merge the MWA with county government. Jones wants to keep water rates low and to mitigate some of the fees.

While all of the candidates have special abilities, we believe Dwight Jones has the skill set most needed on the MWA board during this critical transition phase. We endorse Dwight Jones.

Citizens Advisory Board: Giles O’Neal, Amy Elton, Gene Strouss, Hill Kaplan Gigi Cabell, Philip Lengel, Leroy Mack, Bill Curry, Charles Bass, Betty Toussaint, Editorial Board: Don Bailey, Sherrie Marshall, Charles E. Richardson.

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