Elaine Lucas: Changes to Macon-Bibb Consolidation Bill Are 'Shenanigans'

3:11 PM, Mar 29, 2013   |    comments
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Macon city councilwoman Elaine Lucas says changes made late Thursday night to the Macon-Bibb consolidation bill are ''shenanigans.'

Local state representatives approved an amendment that will allow anyone to qualify for a commission district as long as he or she lives there by the day qualifying starts on April 22.

That change only applies to this year's race. In following elections, as was the case in the past, a candidate must live in the district for at least one year before vying for a spot on the ballot.

Lucas says, "With those changes, the legislators have effectively joined the fight to remove me and some other folks from council --those folks who time after time after time have demanded to know what's going on as far as taxpayers' money, what's going on with consolidation, and we demand that these legislators revoke those changes."

VIEW: Interactive GIS Map of Macon-Bibb Commission Districts

However, state Representative Nikki Randall says no one has lived in the consolidated districts for more than a year, since the maps did not exist until consolidation passed nine months ago.

She says it made sense to open the district races to anyone who currently lives in each designated area.

Lucas says she also opposes a change that allows the Transition Task Force to approve expenditures without the go-ahead from the new government.

Randall says, when the charter was written, legislators did not take into account the idea that some work -- like laying cables for internet access -- would need to be done before January 1, 2014.

She says the charter requires the new government to approve any work done, but that body does not exist yet. Therefore, she says the change gives the Task Force the authority to move forward with projects prior to the start of the consolidated government.

Lucas says she is concerned that the Task Force will now be able to bypass approval from the current Macon and Bibb officials for spending money, but Randall says that is not the case. Randall says any money transfers will still have to go through Macon City Council and Bibb County Commission before the Task Force can act on them.

Lucas says she and others still plan to fight the changes by hiring legal counsel, sending a petition and proposal for an investigation to the Department of Justice, and ask local governments to pass resolutions in opposition.

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