Residents of unincorporated Bibb County may have to think a bit more about their trash.
Southland Waste Systems is switching to an automated trash truck that will grab the carts. Carts should have the opening facing the street, not the handle, and be within three feet of the curb. Other trash containers or boxes should be at least three feet away, said Palmer Rolfes, the company’s general manager.
Rolfes told commissioners the company would work with residents to make sure all the trash gets picked up. Many now leave the cart handles facing the street, he said. One of five routes across Bibb County already is using the new trucks, and the others will switch over in the next two months.
Mic check 1-2, 1-2
This week’s Macon City Council meeting featured a squabble — awkwardly fashioned by Robert’s Rules of Order — between Council President Miriam Paris and Councilwoman Elaine Lucas.
The trouble started when Paris heard council members carrying on side conversations during the presentation of standing committees. Instead of using her gavel to silence the murmur, she chose to turn on the microphones in front of the offending council members.
After one presentation ended, Councilman James Timley noted, somewhat confusedly, that his mic light was on but that he had not requested to speak. That’s when Paris explained what she had done, and that’s when Lucas realized her mic light was on too.
They bickered for a moment and the presentations continued during which Lucas began to shuffle papers loudly under her mic, which was left on.
Paris stopped the presentation and said, “Councilwoman Lucas, you’re being very disruptive.”
“Oh you think so?” Lucas responded. “If you would turn my light off, I could operate over here.”
Lucas added, “You’re being very juvenile.”
At that point, Paris banged her gavel and said, “Councilwoman Lucas, you’ve not been recognized. No one hears you.”
Not everyone happy with new limits on comments
Macon City Council unveiled Tuesday its new three-minute restriction for public comments. When the council passed the change a couple months ago, the idea was to limit comments that fall outside of the council’s purview.
However, the move backfired when the night’s first speaker, who asked the council to do something about the man who — dressed all in black — has been spraying toxic chemicals around her house at night, had her plea extended when a council member motioned to give her two more minutes. All other subsequent speakers, except for Lindsay “Doc” Holliday, had their time extended, something that took a motion, a second and a vote for each speaker.
The stricter time limits are something local NAACP chapter President Al Tillman said he wants to challenge.
“I’m looking at it in perspective of Black History Month and all the tumultuous events of our past — people were beaten, had hoses turned on them, some of them killed to get our right to free speech,” Tillman said. “And our government officials can’t take five minutes to hear the citizens?”
Tillman added that he has already acted as a mitigator for residents who used to routinely speak at council meetings. He said he’s worked with those residents to get them the help they need so they no longer feel the need to vent all their frustrations at the council.
“My whole thing is bringing people together,” he said.
He hopes to bring Councilwoman Elaine Lucas and the Rev. Frank Ray together to talk after they exchanged words during the most recent council meeting. Ray accused Lucas and former Macon Mayor Jack Ellis of failing to live up to promises they made, and Lucas called him a liar.
Councilman Erick Erickson made the motion to extend Ray’s time, saying, “This is exciting!”
Bibb County Attorney Virgil Adams is normally careful and parsimonious with his words. That makes a quick performance of “Pants on the Ground,” an “American Idol” and YouTube hit, before a county commission meeting even more unusual.
He may have been excited at word his longtime legal partner, Marc Treadwell, was nominated to become a federal judge.
The acknowledged champion of singers in Bibb County government, however, is Commissioner Bert Bivins, who said he doesn’t have any performances scheduled.
Part of Capitol schedule set
State legislators are a little more than a fourth of the way through their allotted legislative days this year, and they’ve set their schedule for the next month.
By law, the House and Senate can be in session up to 40 days at a time. But the days don’t have to come one after another, so that typically gets stretched over several months.
Friday was Day 13 in the Legislature, and the 24th legislative day will fall on March 2, according to the current schedule.
The House and Senate will be in session at the Capitol on Monday through Thursday of next week. Then they’ll start taking Fridays and Mondays off through March 2. But just because the full Legislature is not in session doesn’t mean things won’t be busy. Most of the major legislative work on the state budget and on bills is done in committees that often meet regardless of the session schedule.
When the full 40 days will be up — or whether the Legislature will even use all 40 days — is still anyone’s guess.
Bibb County commissioners wanted to say goodbye to some of the retirees, but most were already long gone. Six of the 10 county retirees honored Thursday didn’t show up. “When they’re retired, they’re retired,” Commissioner Joe Allen quipped.
By one tally, the 10 retirees accounted for more than 291 years of collective experience with Bibb County. The longest-serving was Jim Murphy, a Superior Court clerk with 45 years and five months. He was joined by information technology director Tony Rousey with 32 years and six months; help desk coordinator Daisy Mae Howell with 31 years and 10 months; administrative assistant Shirley Williams, 31 years and one month; utility clerk Jennie Jackson with 30 years and nine months; probation official Diane Easley with 30 years and six months; Superior Court clerk Barbara Swords with 26 years and nine months; Civil Court Sheriff Tommy Alston with 21 years and two months; programmer Lynn Davis with 20 years and 11 months; and legal secretary Susan Cook with 20 years and two months.
The retirees received a framed copy of a resolution honoring them and a gold watch.
Telegraph staff writer Chris Horne, Mike Stucka and Travis Fain contributed to this report.