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Friday, May 9, 2014 - 3:23am

Retired General: Middle Georgia Must Work Together To Retain Robins Air Force Base

The former top general at Robins Air Force Base believes Middle Georgia has to confront negative stereotypes about the region.

Retired Gen. Bob McMahon stepped down Sunday as head of the 21st Century Partnership, a nonprofit that works to protect the base from closure.

"When people look at Middle Georgia right now, they perceive that we have a crime issue," McMahon said.

"Whether it's real or perceived, someone else's perception becomes reality for them, and so we need to deal with that on a regional perspective."

That reputation could count against Robins in federal discussions about base closures, McMahon said, as could Warner Robins' current lack of public transportation.

"The answer may be we don't need [transit] everywhere, the answer may be we need to have it, but I think we ought to have that conversation, and it ought to be fact-based, we ought to look at what the return on investment is," he said.

McMahon is leaving the 21st Century Partnership to accept a position with Boeing's Middle Georgia operations.