Endorsement: District 3, Bibb commission

It has been a long time, three terms, since the District 3 seat on the Bibb County Commission was up for grabs. Elmo Richardson, by all accounts, served his constituents well and has decided not to seek another term. Three candidates will face off in the Republican primary July 31, Ed Bond, former 1970s era City Councilman and he served as coroner in the 1990s. Gary Bechtel comes off a 12 year stint on the Bibb County Board of Education and political newcomer and realtor, Mallory Jones.

Each candidate favors consolidation. If the measure passes, it would put them out of a job. Certainly, they could always run for the new commission. Bechtel believes his budgeting experience would be an asset to the commission, while Bond worries about the escalating costs of locking people up over and over. He says his skill is bringing people together.

Jones believes county government should be efficient, transparent and accountable and he sees his main mission is to grow the tax base. He’s frustrated that our area has great assets but has failed to grow.

All would agree that the commission could use new insight. The question is, which candidate can make the greatest contribution. Both Bond and Bechtel have had their turns at elective office. By his own admission, Bechtel says the school system is in worse shape than when he joined the board. While he is but one of eight, some of the responsibility for the failing system rests on his shoulders.

Our panel believes Mallory Jones brings the right temperament and energy and would be a good addition to the commission. He will come at the position with a business perspective and represent District 3 with integrity and class.

Candidates interviewed by: Gigi Cabell, Bill Curry, Amy Elton, Leroy Mack, Don McGouirk. Jon Merrill, Mike Smallwood, George Strauss, Betty Bond-Toussaint, George McCanless, Sherrie Marshall, Charles E. Richardson