Editorials

Let the sunshine in on the transition task force

Correction: An earlier version of this editorial contained an error. Democrat David Davis and Republican Shawn Fritz will compete for the Bibb County sheriff post in the November general election.

House Bill 1171 lays out the groundwork for forming the new consolidated government of Macon-Bibb County. One of the key components that will decide if the process runs smoothly or hits potholes sits in the laps of the transition task force that must form by Sept. 1.

Most of the 15-member group has already been decided through legislation:

The chairperson of the Bibb board of commissioners (Sam Hart) will serve as “co-chief” executive officer

The mayor of the city of Macon (Robert Reichert) who will serve as “co-chief” executive officer

The chairperson of the finance committee (Elmo Richardson) of the Bibb commission

The chairperson of the finance (Appropriations) committee (Tom Ellington) of the City Council of the city of Macon;

The president of the city council (James Timley)

The president of the Bibb County Chamber of Commerce (Mike Dyer)

The Macon police chief (Mike Burns)

The chairperson of the Bibb County delegation (Rep. Nikki Randall) in the General Assembly who shall serve as chairperson of the transition task force;

The vice-chairperson of the Bibb County delegation in the General Assembly (Sen. Cecil Staton)

Sheriff of Bibb County (Jerry Modena)

Five members appointed by the members of the General Assembly whose districts include all or any portion of Bibb County.

It would be wise for the members of the delegation to choose the five unnamed members wisely. We would recommend any of the many successful businessmen or women such as Billy Pitts, Ed Walsh, Theresa Robinson, Dan Slagle, Ed Grant or Lynn Lavery. It would also prove wise to include David Davis, who still must defeat Republican Shawn Fritz in November to claim the Bibb sheriff post.

Finally, we also recommend taking a different course than was charted in the formation of HB 1171 that was developed largely in secret. All meetings of the task force should be open to the public. Data analyzed by The Telegraph’s Mike Stucka shows a consolidation disconnect between white and black communities. A majority of white north Macon precincts had a higher turnout and approved of consolidation at a higher rate than black precincts and white south Macon precincts, where the overwhelming majority of voters said thumbs down. Open deliberations could help mend that divide.

It’s time to get to work. Next summer will be here in the blink of an eye.

-- For the Editorial Board

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