MACON, Ga. — Macon-Bibb County commissioners voted 5-4 to rename the Macon City Auditorium after former Macon mayor C. Jack Ellis.
Commissioners Valerie Wynn, Mallory Jones, Scotty Shepherd and Joe Allen voting against.
The vote came after the commission held a public hearing at 4 p.m. Tuesday. 10 people spoke for and 10 spoke against.
Last Tuesday, a Macon-Bibb County committee voted 5-3 on naming the Macon City Auditorium after former Mayor C. Jack Ellis.
In that meeting, Mayor Robert Reichert spoke out against the resolution, saying the county typically doesn’t name things for people who are still alive. Reichert noted the county has given exceptions when a person is ill or if a person is strongly connected to a project or building like the Elaine Lucas Senior Center.
Reichert said it would be “inappropriate” to name the Macon City Auditorium after Ellis.
“But to name something totally unrelated to the mayor's tenure while he is still very active in politics and may be a candidate for office in the near future,” said Reichert.
Commissioner Al Tillman, who sponsored the resolution, disagreed with Reichert, and said it's appropriate to name the auditorium after Ellis. Tillman noted he doesn’t think the Ellis will run for public office again.
Tillman told 13 WMAZ last Thursday that the county should name it after Ellis because of his contributions to the community and also to honor his military service.
Mayor-elect Lester Miller said last week that he wants the commission to put off the decision and get more public input. He suggested naming it after Macon music legend Otis Redding instead, saying he had a greater connection to the auditorium.
“He certainly put Macon on the map, his family is still here, he performed in that auditorium and he was buried -- I mean his funeral services in that auditorium, so there's a lifeline of connectivity there,” said Miller.