The Union Recorder

April 30, 2013

Unification charter open to the public

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — After one year of research and development, the foundation charter for a Milledgeville-Baldwin County unified government is complete.Chair of the Unified Government Charter Writing Committee Ken Vance presented the executive summary at Central Georgia Technical College Tuesday evening.

Vance kept the gathering short and sweet saying much work and courtesy discussion went into the 57-page charter. The group met twice a month until March reviewing dozens of other consolidation charters for reference.

The eight-member charter committee members encompass a wide segment of Milledgeville and Baldwin County.

• Stan Aldridge, retired athletic director for Georgia College

• Lisa Shinholster, quality supervisor for Triumph Industries

• Tony Hurt, Georgia Power employee

• Candace Haynes, science teacher at Baldwin High School

• Pastor Omer Reid, senior pastor at Flagg Chapel Church

• Randy New, entrepreneur/co-owner of Bayne’s Army Store

• Nancy Hartley, retired teacher

• Chair Ken Vance, former City Councilman and executive director of the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council of Georgia

The charter is divided into nine articles including Powers of the Unified Government, Legislative Make-Up, Unified Government Head, Administration, Judiciary, Elections, Revenue and Finance, General Provisions and Transition Provisions.

No city or county employee will lose his or her job, seniority, tenure, pension, insurance or retirement benefit upon charter adoption. Efficiencies come through future attrition.

A transition team will ease the new government transition.

Milledgeville City Council and Baldwin County Commissioners along with both attorneys and managers received personal copies of the document. Vance looks forward to the months of citizen and elected official conversation ending in the voter’s hands.

“This is a beginning. Now comes a period of education and dialogue,” Vance said. “Now comes a time where we say it’s time to move forward. Our only goal of this committee is that the citizens of this county get a chance to vote on this charter.”

County Commission Chair Sammy Hall, District 3, thanked the unified task force for their work.

“We haven’t had a chance to look at this document, so I really can’t comment on it, but I know you worked hard and we appreciate the work you’ve done,” Hall said.

Milledgeville Mayor Richard Bentley echoed the importance of the months ahead. The consolidation idea has a face as of Tuesday.

“It’s good to see some meat on the bones now. We can take a look at this document,” Bentley said.

Informing the local voters to critique the unification charter is important to the process, according to the mayor.

Bentley called this a historic moment.

“I hope everyone in this room has one objective in mind that is to make Milledgeville a better place to live, for us to operate governmentally and a better place for us to do business in particular,” Bentley said.

The entire charter along with the executive summary and task force member contact information is available on www.mbcunification.com. Citizens may leave a voicemail at 478-387-0671 with questions.