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Macon-Bibb commission debates staff hazard pay

The Superior Court clerk's office has closed because of COVID-19 concerns a total of two weeks so far in 2022.

MACON, Ga. — The biggest issue at Tuesday's Macon-Bibb Commission meeting was money. More specifically, it was whether to provide hazard pay to Superior Court workers.

Superior Court Clerk Erica Woodford said her staff never stopped working during the pandemic.

"Per the statute, the Georgia code, the clerk's office is required to stay open," she told commissioners.

At Tuesday's commission meeting, she asked for $50,000 in hazard payments for her employees.

"We've had to close our doors to the public two weeks this year and it's just February 1st," Woodford said.

Commissioner Mallory Jones expressed concern over the request. He said the office was behind on real estate work and compared their work to other counties.

That added to the nearly-hourlong debate about whether all county employees that work with the public deserve hazard payments.

"I'm anxious to get to a point where a request like this can be given universally," said Mayor Pro Tem Seth Clark.

At the end of the pre-commission meeting, Commissioner Elaine Lucas apologized to Woodford for comments her colleagues made.

"I want to hear some facts," she said, "And tonight, I've heard some lies about your department, and you are owed an apology."

In the end, commissioners decided to table the vote to a later meeting.

"I think that generally, the commissioners want to do something to show our appreciation to our employees, but they want to make sure that nobody is left out," Lucas said.

The commission did tackle some other funding for Bibb County at the meeting. They approved funds for the Macon-Bibb Fire Department to begin updating their uniforms.

Also approved were over $21 million in SPLOST appropriations from the 2018 SPLOST proceeds. Some of the big ticket items included nearly $1.5 million in storm water management funds, $850,000 for blight projects and $240,000 for sheriff's office vehicles.

The commission's next full meeting is February 15th.

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