The Union Recorder

Local News

October 10, 2013

Government consolidation charter edits ongoing

(Continued)

MILLEDGEVILLE —

Changing the voting age, removing the commissioner at-large position and leaving the current county voting districts mostly untouched are some of the notable alterations.

Luke said he's learned Milledgeville is nothing like other consolidated Georgia communities.

“I charged the charter writing committee to make this a document that takes everyone's voice seriously,” Luke said. “It needs to be something with ongoing education.”

The criticism isn't political but about “who is going to lose power,” according to Luke.

“No one is talking about what's good or what's bad,” he said. “Everyone person in this room should have the best government money can buy.”

Critics fear job loss as a government consolidation by product.

The original charter says no city or county employee will lose his or her job, seniority, tenure, pension, insurance or retirement benefit upon charter adoption. 

“I don't want to make the mistake of saying there won't be any jobs lost,” Luke said. 

City and county employees performing duplicate duties may be assigned a comparable job and pay.

Economic efficiencies come through future attrition, according to Aldridge.

Taking best practices from both county and municipal governments plays into the unified transition.

Both men highlighted a unification positive of population increase. The city and county combined number could qualify Baldwin for grant monies.

Aldridge said the writing committee would keep pushing local government to vote the unification charter forward. The document must move onto the state legislature before the New Year.

If the local bodies refuse, a citizen petition could move the referendum process onward.

The Chamber surveyed the attendees at Wednesday's Eggs & Issues breakfast. Of the 62 respondents, 61 voted “yes” to the idea the citizens should have the right to vote on consolidation.

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 any questions or suggestions.

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