As the 2016 General Assembly slowly comes to a close , State Reps. James Beverly and Nikki Randall, the two Democratic members of Bibb County’s local legislative delegation, spoke candidly and publicly to Central Georgia’s largest television station — Macon’s WMAZ-TV — about certain issues they feel the delegation’s Republican majority are ignoring. Macon-Bibb has entered its second full year as a consolidated government but State Reps. Randall and Beverly have said that local Republicans in the legislative delegation led by Republican State Rep. Allen Peake, aren’t living up to their promises to voters, especially when it comes to the charter for the consolidated Macon-Bibb government.
Two of the main issues that the Bibb Democrats are concerned about is that Republicans won’t join them in redrawing the nine commission districts and let the commissioners have veto power over the mayor firing department heads. However, the details of the Macon-Bibb consolidation bill which had been initiated and pushed by Republicans were not known to the public until after it was passed in the General Assembly.
In 2012, Beverly and Randall had an opportunity to take a principled stand and vote against House Bill 1171, but went against the majority of their own constituents and sided with the majority-conservative local delegation– led by Republican Allen Peake.
The main target of the Macon-Bibb consolidation was to reduce the electoral impact of American-American voters and their elected officials and within a period of two years, this has come to fruition.
Even though Macon-Bibb is 54 percent African-American and generally votes Democratic in all elections, white conservatives make up the majority of the nine-member Macon-Bibb Commission and make up the majority of the legislation delegation in the General Assembly.
WMAZ-TV had asked Peake to comment, but he said that there no changes needed for the charter and it is working fine from his point of view.
“I think for them to say that those that may only have a fringe of a community or part of a community are not willing to look out for the best interest of the community is a little bit disingenuous,” Peake said.
Beverly plans to address the legislation he proposed that would move the Macon-Bibb county elections from May to November. Beverly said the change would increase voter turnout because the county elections would be held in conjunction with the presidential elections.
Randall will discuss a proposed change to the Macon Bibb County Government’s charter that would give commissioners the opportunity to consider circumstances surrounding mayoral firings of department heads.