The Macon-Bibb County Consolidation Transition Task Force met for the first time Wednesday in Macon City Council chambers, and energy in the room was positive despite prior disagreements over whether the two governments should merge.
While 56 percent of voters went for consolidation in July, opposition was fierce, largely from African Americans who feared a combined government might dilute their base of power in the city.
Still it was all smiles as task force members got down to work, with Macon Mayor Robert Reichert and Bibb County Commission Chairman Sam Hart notably sitting together, as did Macon Police Chief Mike Burns and Bibb County Sheriff Jerry Modena.
Task force chairwoman and Macon state Rep. Nikki Randall said the acrimony from prior debates is over.
“Each one of us understands that the people have spoken, and we have an awesome task to create the best policy to recommend to the new government,” Randall said.
That new government takes control on New Year’s Day, 2014. In the meantime there are a lot of details to work out.
Addressing her fellow task force members, Randall called the 15-member body "one of the most important [organizations] that we’ll ever be a part of.”
The meeting itself was largely proceedural, with members agreeing to meet on the third Wednesday of each month at 3:30 at the Middle Georgia Regional Commission office.
Their choice of venue will mean the meetings likely won't be televised, though they will remain open to the public.