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Remaking Romain Dallemand: Villain or Victim?

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By Dave Oedel

One of the most riveting Middle Georgia news stories of 2015 has been former Bibb Schools Superintendent Romain Dallemand’s attempt to recast his role in the Bibb schools financial scandal. After Dallemand’s severance from employment with Bibb County’s Board of Education in 2013, Dallemand apparently disappeared to Haiti as if he were on the lam, avoiding legal service and requests for comment about his conduct when he worked for Bibb County’s Board of Education. Now in 2015, though, Dallemand has surprised some by … Continue Reading

Middle Georgia Makes National Transgender News, Raising Questions About Gender Segregation, Sex, and Assault in Prison

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By Dave Oedel

Ashley Diamond has been visiting Middle Georgia from north Georgia’s city of Rome, where Diamond grew up. But Diamond has not been visiting our region’s tourist sites, and Diamond’s visit is not voluntary. Diamond was incarcerated for burglary in Middle Georgia’s medium-security Baldwin State Prison in Hardwick, near Milledgeville, before recently being transferred to the maximum-security Georgia State Prison in Reidsville.

Diamond is suing the state of Georgia in relation to the conditions of Diamond’s confinement. As a female-presenting “transgender” individual with male genitalia, Diamond was incarcerated with men, and then allegedly raped seven times in prison by male inmates. Treated as a male, Diamond’s long, flowing hair was shorn upon entry into the prison system, Diamond’s female clothing was taken away, and Diamond was denied a continuation of hormones that Diamond had been taking before incarceration.

Anatomically male by birth, … Continue Reading

Japan May Offer A Way Forward For Better Community Policing in Bibb County

A police box in Ueno Park

By Alan Wood,

Editor of Georgia Watchdog

In the U.S., police activity is mostly centered around the patrol car. In downtown Macon you occasionally see officers on bicycles, segways, or on foot,  but in most parts of Bibb county they use squad cars for patrols. In Japan the center of police activity happens in a very small police station called a koban.
Police boxes  are ubiquitous throughout Japan, and practically every populated neighborhood or community has one. There are different versions depending on urban or rural areas, but if you include both types, there are approximately 6,600 kobans in cities and around 9,000 chuzaishos in rural areas. The main difference is … Continue Reading

Thoughts on Meeting the Legally Mandated Cuts in Macon-Bibb: Why There’s No Way to Avoid the Tough Conversation About Personnel Cuts, and What Can Practically Be Done to Achieve Them

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By Alan Wood, March 8, 2015

Editor of Georgia Watchdog

Macon-Bibb County has around 2,200 local governmental employees, not counting  jobs related to the school system. The salaries of these government employees make up the lion’s share of the consolidated budget. In fact, around 80% of the entire budget outlay goes towards salaries. When consolidation was still in discussion, there was a mandate that the newly merged entity must cut costs by 20% by FY2019. That provision is a major reason consolidation was finally approved after so many failed attempts in the past. People looked forward to the tax cuts that a consolidated government had promised to deliver.

Based on the 2014 budget, a 20% cost reduction would be approximately $33 million. Some progress toward that goal of about four percent annually was already achieved in that 2014 budget, though, so the good news is that somewhat less, probably “only” about $27 million more, is additionally required to meet the promised and legislatively required goal of cost reduction.  Still, the easiest cuts have been made, and it’s important that the Macon-Bibb government continue in earnest this year to look even harder at cost savings.  In this article, I’d like to offer my assessment, and a few suggestions to reach that goal. … Continue Reading

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