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Monday, September 16, 2013 - 2:00am

Joe Allen: No Regrets About Phone Number

Joe Allen has no regrets about the way he announced his campaign for Macon-Bibb County mayor. In fact, he says it was an indication of how he will do business if elected Tuesday.

Five months ago, Joe Allen called a press conference in the Bibb County Commission chambers and help up a phone. "Ladies and gentlemen, this is a cell phone. My phone number is 478-955-4100," he said.

Allen proceeded to put that number on campaign signs and billboards.

In an interview during the final days of the campaign, Allen said he's gotten a lot of calls, mostly from people who want his help fixing one problem or another. But he'd to it again, he said.

"A person should give their telephone number out. If they want to be in public service, they've got to be able to take care of the people at that particular time," Allen said.

In terms of policy, Allen restated his position that if elected he would try to appoint himself or perhaps a city-county commissioner as a voting member of the Bibb County Board of Education.

"The right hand needs to know what the left hand is doing. The school board only has eight board members on the school board, they have a lot of ties," Allen said. "But if they'll have either the mayor or the mayor's designee representing Bibb County, that's the right hand knowing what the left hand is doing."

Allen concedes it would take an act of the legislature to alter the composition of the school board.

Regarding economic development, Allen said that if he had been mayor, he would not have used Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds to revitalize Second Street downtown, as Macon Mayor Robert Reichert has.

"It's not that I'm against what Mayor Reichert has done, I think he's done a decent job," Allen said. "But we have to bring jobs in here."

Allen would have instead used those funds to extend the runway at Middle Georgia Regional Airport in an effort to attract new maintenance, repair, and shipping business, he said.

GPB spoke with Macon-Bibb mayoral candidates C. Jack Ellis last Monday, Charlie Bishop on Tuesday, Robert Reichert on Wednesday, David Cousino on Thursday, and Sam Hart on Friday.

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