When Macon-Bibb County’s consolidated government commissioners began work nearly 14 months ago, bright, peppy and full of promise, they sped through meetings at a refreshingly brisk pace. Committee meetings, that is, where proposals are argued over in detail. Regular meetings of the full commission went quickly, too, as most of the debating was already done.
But as the months rolled by, committees began to stretch longer and longer. Work sessions were often scheduled in the afternoons, and more often committee wrangles got drawn out until or even after the work session was supposed to convene. Committees start at 9 a.m., and when they drag on much past noon, commissioners got used to having lunch delivered.
But this week all five committees finished their work about 11:30 a.m., with no afternoon work session to call them back. Mayor Robert Reichert revealed one possible reason for this renewed diligence: He announced that commissioners are out of money to buy lunch.
The fiscal year still has four months to run, but commissioners chewed through $2,500 already.
The former Macon City Council budgeted a $3,000 annual “snack fund” to keep them in Cheetos and Hershey’s Kisses, but that body had 15 members, compared to the Macon-Bibb Commission’s 10.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is seeking bidders to clean up 19 properties in Robins Air Force Base’s encroachment areas. The contract for demolition, asbestos abatement and lot clearing is valued at $200,000 to $250,000. Interested bidders must attend a 10 a.m. Feb. 24 meeting in Warner Robins City Hall.
Though the bid process is being handled through the Georgia Procurement Registry, Warner Robins has hosted some information on its website, including details of how to find the specific bid requirements. For that, visit www.wrga.gov and click the “Bids” link on the right.
The efforts are aiming to reduce population density in the noisiest areas close to the base.
BAN THE BOX RALLY
Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Al Tillman’s move to “ban the box” is up for a final vote Tuesday night, after narrowly passing through committee last week.
Hoping to stiffen support, Tillman is calling for a rally in the lobby of Macon-Bibb County Government Center, 700 Poplar St., at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Commissioners hold their pre-meeting to set the night’s agenda starting at 5 p.m., and at 6 p.m. the full commission meets. That’s when Tillman’s resolution may face its fate.
“Banning the box” means leaving a check-box off initial applications for Macon-Bibb government jobs, which asks whether the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime. That wouldn’t keep Human Resources from asking later in the process about any law violations, but it would prevent applications from being automatically thrown out without a deeper look at the person’s qualifications and other history, Tillman said.
Many other states and cities, including Atlanta, have “banned the box” and have seen an uptick in hiring former convicts with no problems, he said.
Human Resources Director Ben Hubbard, however, said Macon-Bibb already does what the resolution asks, though without official policy.
Still, Tillman said, for Macon-Bibb to “ban the box” would serve as an example for private firms to give the formerly incarcerated a better chance. Jobs are the best way to prevent recidivism, he said.
TERRILL GETTING BENHAM AWARD
Nancy Terrill, a 1978 Mercer law school graduate and longtime employee of the school, has been named a recipient of the 16th Annual Justice Robert Benham Awards for Community Service for the state’s District 4. She and 12 other people across the state will be presented with their awards Tuesday at the Georgia Bar Center in Atlanta.
“Nancy Terrill’s unwavering commitment to justice and improving access to the legal system makes her a role model for lawyers and law students alike,” Daisy Hurst Floyd, the school’s dean, said in a statement. “She is a tireless advocate for the community and is highly deserving of this recognition.”
The Benham Awards for Community Service are co-sponsored by the State Bar of Georgia and the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism. The awards are among the highest recognitions given by the two organizations.
Anyone interested in how the Douglass Theatre and two local museums are doing can hear it firsthand, at the League of Women Voters of Macon meeting Feb. 18.
The noon meeting at Vineville United Methodist Church, 2045 Vineville Ave., will feature presentations from Andy Ambrose, executive director of the Tubman African American Museum; Gina Ward, director of the Douglass Theatre; and Susan Welsh, executive director of the Museum of Arts and Sciences. They will all give “an update on museums,” according to the schedule.
Seats can be reserved by contacting Marilyn Sheldon at 743-5915 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
MIDDLE GEORGIANS APPOINTED TO BOARDS
Gov. Nathan deal recently appointed two Middle Georgians to state boards.
Brian Stone, of Macon, was appointed to the State Board of Registration for Foresters. He is the appraisal services manager at Forest Resource Consultants Inc., and is a state-registered forester and a state-certified general real property appraiser. He has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in forest business from the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia.
Leonard Kinsley was reappointed to the State Board of Registration for Foresters. He is the owner of Fall Line Forest Management. He serves on the board of directors of the Houston County Farm Bureau, of which he is also a past president. He is also past chairman of the Georgia Farm Bureau Forestry Commodity Committee. A veteran of the U.S. Navy, he has a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and a master’s degree from Pennsylvania State University.
OBAMACARE DEADLINE LOOMS
Sunday is the deadline for open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act, which is also known as Obamacare. Georgians can visit HealthCare.gov to review and compare health plan options. Help is available from the federal level by calling 800-318-2596.
The Macon-based InsureGA effort is helping most of Georgia. Help through that office is available at www.insurega.org or by calling 866-988-8246.
The organization also regularly holds registration events, and has one scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the InsureGA Macon office, 300 Mulberry St., Suite 105. Call 478-254-5224 for information.
Writers Jim Gaines and Mike Stucka contributed to this report.