Now the real work begins to create a smooth transition

Now that all the congratulations, glad-handing and backslapping is over, the ramifications of Tuesday’s consolidation victory are starting to set in. This is not easy stuff, and although the time line looks long enough, 18 months will fly by quickly. Fortunately, there are a few communities that have undertaken the same task that can provide guidance.

The transition committee should seek the help of the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government. The institute has invaluable knowledge about the communities that have consolidated. After its initial meetings the committee should arrange to visit and talk with the leaders in the other consolidated communities to find out what they wished they had done differently.

One of the first issues to address head on is the work force. While it will be fairly easy to combine law enforcement because of the military-style structure, other areas of personnel will be more difficult to navigate. Since the bill addresses pensions and pay, those are off the table. However, who stays and who goes is far from settled. While we hate to suggest another consultant, it may be wise to bring in outside help to explore the best way to downsize government so the impact on employees, using retirements, early outs and normal attrition, is minimal.

-- The Editorial Board