Macon mayor Robert Reichert and his immediate predecessor C. Jack Ellis are facing scrutiny over their recent records, as both vie to become the first mayor of the consolidated Macon-Bibb County.
In separate hour-long interviews Tuesday evening, The Telegraph’s editorial board asked Ellis how he could lead the combined government when this time last year he was actively campaigning against the consolidation measure voters ultimately passed.
Ellis replied that he was pro-consolidation, but opposed to this specific government charter. Among his reasons: it requires six of the nine new city-county commissioners to pass a budget, instead of a simple majority of five.
“The people have spoken,” Ellis said of the vote last August. “I said I was against, I disliked it. I didn’t say I disliked it so much that I’m going to try to destroy the whole thing. We can make it work the way it is.”
In Reichert’s interview, the board asked if he has any regrets over his handling of the Sammie Davis Jr. shooting late last year. The administration was silent for months as authorities investigated the shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer. Over that time, public suspicion of the incident grew, though the officer was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing.
Reichert said he has no regrets, but if he had to do it over again, he “would try to be a little more forthcoming about where we are in the process and how the process is playing out, and be willing to answer question about the process, although not about the investigation itself.”
The Telegraph’s editorial board interviewed mayoral candidates Joe Allen, Charlie Bishop, and David Cousino the day before, and will interview Sam Hart on Monday.
GPB and The Telegraph will post the complete interviews with all six mayoral candidates online once each has been conducted.