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Wake Up Macon!

September 2008

                                   

 

Political Watch:

Macon City Council Attendance Reports Should Surprise Some Bibb County Residents

 

 

 

By James Wright

 

 

The views in this editorial do not necessarily represent those of The Georgia Informer or its staff

 

 

In my last editorial, I took the time to conduct an informal telephone poll to determine how many Macon and Bibb County residents could identify their City Council and Bibb County Commission members.  After talking to numerous readers of that article, I found that there weren’t many surprises there. I had thought that the citizens would be shocked at some of the answers given by those polled.  Apparently, the citizens of Macon (if they know their city council members and commissioners) know them well.

This month, I decided to dig a little deeper to uncover more of what’s really going on in our government with our elected officials.  Are they fulfilling their duties and responsibilities as representatives of the people?  I obtained an absentee report for Macon City Council for the months of January 2008 through June 2008 and you will find my results in this article.  Admittedly, I was surprised and again, I will be interested in knowing if the citizens of Macon share that surprise.

Rather than list every single council member, I found it much easier to simply present a chart listing only those members who had been absent at least once during that period of time.  If a city council member’s name is not on the chart, that means the member has not been absent even once for the first six months of this year.

Across the top of the chart, you will find the particular meeting from which the member listed on the left side of the chart was absent.

 

Absent

City Council

Work Session

Ordinances & Resolutions

Community Resources

Public Works

Employee Develop-ment

Erickson

3

3

4

2

Timley

3

2

2

3

Ross

4

2

1

Lucas

1

1

Cranford

1

1

3

Defore

1

3

1

Jones

5

Hutto

1

Miley

1

1

1

1

Ellington

1

White

1

Watkins

1

Paris

2

 

As you can see, the chart presents some troubling numbers.  If you take a look at Charles Jones’ absences, you might come to the conclusion that he simply doesn’t enjoy the city council work sessions.  Perhaps the word “work” disturbs him; I don’t know.  Or is there something else going on that we’re not aware of?  At least Council President Miriam Paris has a pretty decent attendance record.  All of this year, she’s only been absent twice – both times from Ordinances and Resolutions.

But what about Erick Erickson?  It appears that he doesn’t feel the need to be bothered with Macon City Council.  Don’t these people get paid to run the city’s business affairs?  If a member can’t be bothered to attend, just what are we paying for?  Last I heard, the pay wasn’t anything to jump through hoops for (about $12,000/yr.), but it’s still a paycheck.  I shudder to think that the citizens of Macon might be paying someone to handle their personal business rather than take care of the city’s business as they were elected to do.

Although Ed Defore has totaled up 5 days of absences, one of those days (the Public Works committee meeting), he was attending a Macon Water Authority board meeting.  Oh well, you can’t be in two places at once.  At least he was taking care of business.

This is curious: James Timley didn’t attend a single Public Works Committee meeting in June.  Is he still on that committee?  If he is, what’s up?  Was he sick the entire month of June? 

And what about Alveno Ross?  He was absent from the only city council meeting held in January, missed one of the two held in March, and was absent May 13th and May 20th.  Maybe he took an early vacation this year.

Interesting stuff, huh?  Here’s what we’ll do.  We definitely need to give every Macon City Council member who’s name does NOT appear on the chart a 5 point bonus this month.  Even if you just sit there, at least you’re there.  And we know that several of our council members do work hard for the city of Macon.

If a member missed between 1 and 5 meetings, we’ll leave the score just like it is.  After all, a lot can happen in six months and I know that our council members are very busy people with other jobs.  But I’m still a little curious about Charles Jones and those work sessions.  He only attended one session a month, even in months when two were held.  Perhaps he’s confused and doesn’t know that in some months, two City Council work sessions are held.

If a member missed 6-10 meetings, that’s just not acceptable.  Five points will be deducted from the scores of Alveno Ross and James Timley.  And I don’t know what to think about Erick Erickson.  Yes, I do; knock 10 points off his score every month until he can learn to come to the meetings.

 

Official Grade
Mayor Robert Reichert 70 + 5 = 75
City Council Members
City Council President
Miriam Paris
45 + 15 = 60
Tom Ellington 45 + 20 = 65

Virgil Watkins, Jr.

45 + 10 = 55
Nancy White 45 + 15 = 60
Elaine Lucas 53 + 20 = 73
Alveno Ross 63 - 5 = 58
Erick Erickson 60 - 10 = 50
Charles Jones 50 + 5 = 55
Larry Schlesinger 60 + 5 = 65
Lauren Benedict 60 + 5 = 65
Lonnie Miley 45 + 15 = 60
Ed DeFore 65 + 20 = 85
Rick Hutto 45 + 25 = 70
James Timley 70 - 5 = 65
J. Michael Cranford 45 + 20 = 65
Bibb County Commissioners  
Joe Allen 25 + 5 = 30
Bert Bivins 80 - 10 = 70
Lonzy Edwards 50 + 20 = 70
Elmo Richardson 50 - 25 = 25
Charlie Bishop 50
 

 

It is troubling to see the number of absences from important meetings where our elected city officials are supposed to be taking care of the city of Macon’s business.  How can you take care of business if you’re not even there?  Often, one vote is all it takes to pass through much needed legislation.  No wonder the city seems to be at a standstill!  This doesn’t seem to reflect the change that Mayor Reichert promised us when he was elected.  It just looks life more of the same.

The citizens of Macon need to know the reasons behind all of these absences.  I suggest that city council members not get paid unless they show up for work.  The average citizen would probable agree.

The Scriptures teach us that we should show responsibility and integrity on the job.  “With good will doing services, as to the Lord and not to men.  Knowing that whatever good everyone does he will receive the same from the Lord….” Ephesians 6: 7,8

Elected officials should do their jobs as if Jesus Christ was their supervisor and employers should treat their employees fairly and with respect.  Can you be trusted to do your best even when no one is around or checking?  Do you work hard and with enthusiasm?  Employees/elected officials should be trustworthy.  It is often difficult to find people doing their jobs when your back is turned.  A faithful employee/elected official is punctual, responsible, honest, and hard working.  This person is invaluable as he/she helps take some of the pressure off the employer/Macon city residents.

Mayor Reichert, as the leader of the city of Macon, must develop a system of accountability for all of the absences that have been occurring. 

 

Any citizen desiring to read more of these editorials concerning political watch may do so at http://www.gainformer.com/Files/Wake%20Up%20Macon%20Navigation.htm .

 

Citizens may read the minutes of all Macon City Council meetings at http://www.cityofmacon.net/CityDept/council/councilnews.asp .

Bibb County Commission minutes can be found at http://www.co.bibb.ga.us/minutes/minutes.asp .

 

 

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