Both sides of the clash over control over Macon-Bibb County department heads made their pitches to the local legislative delegation Thursday.
Mayor Robert Reichert and several county commissioners reiterated their stances on whether the county's charter should be changed to allow department heads more recourse if they are fired by the mayor. Macon-Bibb officials met Thursday with the area's state senators and representatives as part of the Macon-Bibb County Legislative Listening Day.
Thursday's discussion came just two days after the County Commission voted 7-2 to override Mayor Robert Reichert's veto of a resolution asking state legislators to amend the county charter to provide more security for terminated department heads.
State Rep. Nikki Randall, D-Macon, said the topic may be worthy of legislators re-examining it.
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"It speaks volumes to me that the (commission) overwhelmingly overrode the veto," she said.
The current charter allows a mayor to fire department heads at will.
The resolution supports a change that would allow commissioners to request the mayor to provide a reason for a termination, as well as allow the commission to vote on upholding or reversing a firing.
Reichert said the existing charter promotes an environment of teamwork that holds department heads accountable.
"I'd love for (state legislators) to make an affirmative statement that you intended for this to be a strong mayoral form of government," Reichert said.
Commissioner Scotty Shepherd said those in favor of the change want department heads to have the same options as other county employees.
"These are long-term serving employees that we feel like need some protection," he said.
State Rep. James Beverly, D-Macon, asked if the sides could compromise.
"We just want to know if there is a critical pathway where you get what you want and the mayor gets what he wants, or is it all or nothing?" he said.
Commissioners also have the option of attempting to change the charter without going through the state Legislature, although that could lead to a legal battle between the commission and mayor.
To contact writer Stanley Dunlap, call 744-4623.