Mayor, council retreat under way in Athens

Macon's mayor and City Council kicked off a two-day retreat in Athens today, where they began mapping out a big picture strategy for confronting the city's challenges during the next four years.

Officials will take on five major topics: Communication protocol between Mayor Robert Reichert's administration and the 15-member council, regaining public trust, shoring up the city's financial condition, improving internal operations and enhancing the city's relationship with Bibb County officials.

"I think this is about team building and setting some parameters," Reichert said, delivering brief opening remarks to the council and members of his staff as they convened at the University of Georgia's center for continuing education.

"I've got a great challenge ahead of us, and right now I feel tremendous positive energy," added Council President Miriam Paris.

Retreat participants — including 11 council members, the council clerk, the city attorney, Reichert and three members of his staff — broke into small groups for discussion before reporting their conclusions to the larger body.