Political Notebook: Macon-Bibb consolidation lockout

June 27, 2014 

Jonathan Addleton, a Macon native, received the 2014 Christian A. Herter Award for constructive dissent from the American Foreign Service Association.

AMERICAN FOREIGN SERVICE ASSOCIATION — Special to The Telegraph Buy Photo

Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert admitted this week that not every last detail of city-county consolidation has been handled yet.

Commissioner Bert Bivins asked about giving a new service organization the symbolic honor of a key to the city.

“Don’t tell anybody, but we don’t have any keys to the new consolidated government yet,” Reichert said. There is a stockpile of ceremonial keys to the former city of Macon, he allowed.

“We tell them they still work, but we’ve changed the locks,” Reichert joked.

New ceremonial keys in the new name are on order, he said. Commissioner Virgil Watkins asked if they’d arrive along with new business cards, which commission members are still awaiting as well.

Macon man wins international award

There’s a good bit more to Jonathan Addleton than someone who’s seen the world. Sure, you can look at his record, which includes serving as ambassador to Mongolia or directing U.S. Agency for International Development missions in Mongolia, Cambodia and Pakistan.

But now Addleton, who calls Macon his hometown but who was actually born in Pakistan to missionary parents, has a bit more to his resume: He’s been recognized as a bit of a rebel with a cause.

The American Foreign Service Association gave its Christian A. Herter Award for Constructive Dissent to Addleton in a ceremony this month at the U.S. Department of State. The dissent awards are said to be unique in the federal government.

Addleton earned the award while serving as USAID’s senior civilian representative for southern Afghanistan, where he urged reforms of the State Department’s oversight for Foreign Service workers. He’d written a commentary for local media in Kandahar that compared Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan, who was shot by the Taliban on her school bus in 2012, and Malala of Maiwand, an Afghan teenager killed in 1880 in battle who is a national hero. State Department officials worried publication would feed conspiracy theories that were emerging in Pakistan that the United States was somehow behind the attack. Addleton made a case for a more creative and rapid response on public affairs issues, the American Foreign Service Association said.

Two to one

The cities of McRae and Helena have been physically close to each other from the beginning, but they’re on their way to being joined as one. House Bill 967, which drew just a single vote opposition from the General Assembly, sets up the union of McRae-Helena. The combined community in Telfair and Wheeler counties will launch at the beginning of 2015.

Ralston makes appointments

House Speaker David Ralston recently made slates of appointments to study committees. Among them were state Rep. Jimmy Pruett, R-Eastman, who was named chairman of the House Study Committee on Aviation and Jobs; and state Rep. Matt Hatchett, R-Dublin, who was appointed to the House Study Committee on Medical Education.

Show and tell

Leon Jones, Bibb County coroner for 24 years, gave Macon-Bibb County commissioners a glimpse this week of what he deals with daily.

“I’ve seen over 10,000 dead bodies,” he told them.

Jones brought in a few tools of the trade, including a body bag, face mask and measuring devices. He also brought a slide show.

Most of Jones’ pictures were of smashed-up cars, but some included bodies. And a few were of remains found long after death. Some commissioners watched unfazed, but Commissioner Virgil Watkins turned away and shielded his eyes. He waited until Jones had finished chatting cheerfully about the difficulty of moving corpses, then asked others if it was over, before looking back.

Writers Jim Gaines and Mike Stucka contributed to this report.

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