Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission board members are moving forward with their mission after recent tensions with the Cherry Blossom Festival and local leaders.
In a Thursday meeting that was postponed from last month, the board cordially handled routine matters before going into closed session for a little more than an hour.
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Adam Cochran, the KMBBC board chairman, was not specific about the purpose of the executive session, but CEO Pam Carswell, bookkeeper Alicia Meeks and media representatives left the room.
"I felt it was good to just get everybody in there to speak about everything that's happened and how we're going to move forward," Cochran said after the two-hour meeting adjourned.
At times, raised voices could be heard out in the hall, but Cochran called it a "great meeting" at its conclusion.
"We covered a lot of really good topics moving forward for what the county is asking, for what the expectations for the community is asking and expects for us," Cochran said.
In October, Cherry Blossom Festival board chairman Don Bailey asked that Carswell move out of the Pink House, which the two organizations share on Cherry Street.
A rift between KMBBC's executive committee, Carswell and other board members escalated in recent weeks before Mayor Robert Reichert sent representatives to the October meeting.
The mayor's administration ordered KMBBC to submit an action plan for litter removal or risk losing $110,000 in public funds earmarked for the organization in fiscal 2018.
In a called Macon-Bibb County Commission meeting Oct. 31, leaders urged the two organizations to put their differences aside and concentrate on their individual missions.
Cochran said that is exactly what KMBBC is doing.
He plans to talk to Bailey again this week, but Carswell has continued to work in the Pink House, which is owned by the Urban Development Authority for the express purpose of providing office space for the festival and KMBBC.
"I have talked to Don (Bailey) and right now I think everything is OK there," Cochran said. "I think everything is going to be fine."
Bailey said Thursday that the festival staff is in high gear getting ready for the New Year's Eve ball drop and securing sponsors for spring events.
"We have moved all of the Cherry Blossom Festival employees to the second floor," Bailey said of the reorganization of the Pink House. "We're going to treat it like an office building."
During a tumultuous time that led to an ad hoc KMBBC committee pushing for the resignations of executive board members, Cochran identified the group's lack of by-laws as a major issue causing problems with the way meetings and business are conducted.
Thursday, the board formed a by-laws committee to draw up official rules for the organization.
Mark Stevens will head the committee, which will include Charlotte Woody and Staci Uselton.
They will draft by-laws in the first couple of months of next year, with Cochran's goal of having them in place before his term expires in May.
During the meeting, Carswell reported that Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful also is busy planning the "Bring One for the Chipper" Christmas tree recycling event Jan. 6.
They will also be distributing free cherry tree saplings at the Tattnall Square Academy Kids Yule Love program Monday and at Lowe Lighting Center, 1525 Forsyth St., Thursday and Friday, from 9 a.m. -5 p.m.