Recently, a minority and small business ordinance found its way into Macon City Council discussions, as part of the city code was needing revamping. Chapter 16 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Macon needed to be clarified to make sure that minorities and small business enterprises were able to get realistic and opportune chances to grow and survive in the city by being given the green light to contract services with the city. In addition, there would be a further provision that would obligate contractors to look local for laborers and mechanics when needed, with an emphasis on minorities.
However, current Mayor Robert Reichert wants to delay signing it into implementation until August 1. The reason behind this is the proposed consolidation of the city of Macon and Bibb County that is being voted for on July 31. However, Mayor Reichert feels that the delay is essential to work out problems in the legislation. Reichert claims that adding personnel, procedures, and processes is necessary and it will take four months “so we can effectively implement it.”
Critics claim that this is just another ploy to limit the minority and female impact in the area. If the consolidation does go through, the minority-controlled city council and county commissions would be dissolved. Mayor Reichert could be waiting to see how the referendum works out. After being questioned over minority issues and contracts in the last mayoral election, he barely squeaked out a victory over minority candidate C. Jack Ellis. However, when questioned by the council, Mayor Reichert responded “What’s worse? You know, selective enforcement and turning a blind eye and not doing it, or delaying the implementation.”
Several councilpersons were outspoken against this, including Elaine Lucas. Councilwoman Lucas was very angry, saying she was confused why there would need to be a four month waiting period for implementation. She railed against Reichert, who went back to a necessity for figuring out “details.” Reichert also added “we want local vendors to be aware of opportunities to have the advantage to put in bids because we want the lowest best bid from a variety of sources.”
Whatever the case, this ordinance is going to be retooled and a better date will be picked for implementation by the council as soon as possible. Time is ticking before consolidation, so any ordinance as such that will live on after the event must be hashed out now.