Politics & Government

Political Notebook: Macon-Bibb County Commission to fill committee roles

During each Macon-Bibb County Commission committee meeting, a commissioner is in charge of directing the meeting's agenda.

The committee's chairman will call for discussion of each agenda item and ensure that a vote is properly carried out. In the chairman's absence, a vice chairman assumes those duties.

In terms of committee leadership, it appears the status quo will be maintained this year. Following this week's nominations, there are no changes in the commissioners who run each of the commission's four committees.

There was little discussion about the nominations, although one response came from Commissioner Gary Bechtel after Commissioner Virgil Watkins quickly asked for a motion to reappoint Bechtel as head of the Operations and Finance Committee.

"Thank you, Commissioner Watkins," Bechtel said. "I'll have your wire transferred later."

On Tuesday, the County Commission is expected to approve:

Bechtel as chairman of the Operations and Finance Committee, with Commissioner Elaine Lucas serving as vice chairwoman.

Commissioner Larry Schlesinger as chairman of the Economic and Community Development Committee. Lucas would be vice chairwoman.

Commissioner Scotty Shepherd as chairman of the Public Safety Committee, with Watkins as vice chairman.

Commissioner Mallory Jones as chairman of the Facilities and Engineering Committee. Commissioner Al Tillman would be vice chairman.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FROM BEVERLY

State Rep. James Beverly, D-Macon, is scheduled to give a legislative update during a panel discussion at a "Helping Hands, Helping People" youth and family event in Macon on Saturday.

The event runs from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Buck Melton Center, 150 Sessions Drive in Macon.

The panel portion is set to start about 11:30 a.m.

MACON-BIBB NOMINATES T-SPLOST REPRESENTATIVE

The Macon-Bibb County Commission is scheduled to decide Tuesday on an official to represent the county during roundtable meetings for a possible transportation sales tax.

Commissioner Larry Schlesinger volunteered this week to join Mayor Robert Reichert as the county's designees for the series of meetings to discuss a regional special purpose local option sales tax dedicated to transportation.

Macon-Bibb is part of an 11-county region that would, if voters approve the T-SPLOST referendum, see sales tax would jump by a penny on every dollar spent. In 2012, the tax failed to garner enough regional support to pass, with only 44 percent of voters in favor.

SCOTT STUMPS FOR RUBIO, BLASTS CRUZ AND TRUMP

U.S. Rep. Austin Scott criss-crossed Georgia this week trying to garner support for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in the Super Tuesday Republican presidential primary.

Scott, R-Ga., made up his mind early and joined the Rubio camp last fall.

"I know he is a fact-based decision maker. He does not jump to conclusions," Scott told The Telegraph.

When asked about front-runner Donald Trump, Scott echoed Rubio's talking points on the campaign trail.

"There's a difference between making a point and making a difference," said Scott, who can't fathom the unwavering support for the outspoken business tycoon. "It's almost like he's on a political suicide mission, yet people continue to vote for him."

Scott reserved his harshest comments for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

"He's the meanest person I've ever been around," Scott said. "The more people are around him, the less they like him."

During Thursday night's CNN debate, Cruz claimed his lack of Senate endorsements was a badge of honor when Trump said Cruz "should be ashamed."

The Texas senator said in reference to his keeping his campaign promises and battling corruption and cronyism, "Washington doesn't like it."

CHIEF JUSTICE RECEIVES MERCER LAW SCHOOL AWARD

Chief Justice Hugh P. Thompson of the Supreme Court of Georgia received the 2016 Alumni Meritorious Service Award from Mercer University's law school.

President Deron Hicks of the Law Alumni Association presented the award Feb. 19 during the annual alumni dinner at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead.

"This recognition is humbling," said Thompson, who earned his law degree in 1969 from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer. "I owe a great deal to Mercer. It propelled me on the path I took, and I am deeply indebted to the institution and its people, who had such a profound influence on me."

Thompson, who lives in Milledgeville, was appointed to the Supreme Court by Gov. Zell Miller in 1994. Before becoming a justice, he was a Superior Court judge in the eight-county Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit, where he served from 1979 to 1994.

He also serves on Mercer's board of trustees.

Staff writers Stanley Dunlap, Liz Fabian and Oby Brown contributed to this report.

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