Macon City Council’s Appropriations Committee tabled its most controversial agenda items Monday.
An effort to outsource the city’s medical dispensary, where city employees receive medical treatment, drew the most discussion. The dispensary has been without staff after one employee retired and another was laid off last month. Human Resources Director Ben Hubbard said city workers are using Caduceus Occupational Medicine until a contract is approved by the council.
Concerned about the lack of minority-owned companies doing business with the city, Councilwoman Elaine Lucas requested documents from the bid process for the dispensary. The company that lost the bid is a minority-owned business, and Lucas questioned whether the bid process gave the winning company an advantage. City officials said both companies were able to see what the other bid, and each was directed to make its lowest offer, according to the proposal’s specifications.
Councilwoman Lauren Benedict, who specializes in workers’ compensation issues, had problems with the ordinance dealing with the contract, too. As written, she said, the ordinance would direct city workers to the dispensary first when state law requires them to have a choice from a panel of doctors.
After 45 minutes of discussion, the committee tabled the issue and asked for an update in two weeks.
In another matter, Councilman Mike Cranford pulled back an ordinance that would have moved the director of Channel 14, which airs City Council meetings, city news conferences and city job announcements,from the IT Department to the mayor’s office.
As the sponsor of the ordinance, he explained that Mayor Robert Reichert and Chief Administrative Officer Thomas Thomas asked for time to speak with the affected employee, Ron Wildman.
The committee also discussed formally including the Fort Hawkins master plan as part of special purpose local option sales tax discussions with Bibb County. That opened the door for other council members who proposed adding a community center at Fillmore Thomas Lake, improving Luther Williams Field, building a new animal shelter and creating a cultural arts umbrella that would fund various projects.
Councilman Ed DeFore, who sponsored the attempt to have Fort Hawkins added to the sales tax negotiations, quipped, “You better get the courthouse to cut one of their floors off if we want to get all these we want done.”
The only resolutions the committee approved were for purchases of vehicles and equipment. However, a resolution to purchase a flatbed truck was tabled because the original bid winner could no longer provide the truck.
To contact writer Chris Horne, call 744-4494.