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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

budget cuts

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

A Response to Justice Kennedy from the Heart of Georgia: What Would Georgia Do If the Supreme Court Ruled Against Forcing Federal Subsidies Through “State” Health Insurance Exchanges that the States Didn’t Establish?

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

By Dave Oedel, March 8, 2015, Macon, Georgia:

Should the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act at the Supreme Court prevail, there’s already considerable speculation at the Supreme Court about what states like Georgia would do next. Would states like Georgia, those that didn’t establish state health insurance exchanges before, then establish exchanges to retain federal insurance subsidies for some of their citizens? The answer matters. It may affect how the legal challenge will be treated by the Supreme Court when it issues its decision, probably during the last week of June, 2015.

Georgia is a special case, because it’s generally considered among the more-likely candidates to establish its own exchange in the event of a challenger victory. But there’s also a good chance, perhaps a better chance, that Georgia won’t establish an exchange even then. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy might want to take note of that possibility, and why it is a possibility. … Continue Reading

Milledgeville’s City Manager Targeted for Termination: When is Retaliation Wrongful?

2015-02-28 10.26.31

By Dave Oedel

For 27 years, Barry Jarrett has worked his way up the Milledgeville city employment ladder, through water and sewer all the way to city manager. As manager, Jarrett has served for several years during tough times for Milledgeville when some major local employers were closing, including correctional facilities, Rheem, Shaw, and Central State Hospital.  Jarrett is now the highest-ranking African-American employee in a city that is financially stronger than its county, in part due to Jarrett’s stewardship.

Jarrett got a jolt on February 16, 2015, though, when … Continue Reading

Is Macon Really on the Move?

By Alan Wood

Editor of Georgia Watchdog

When I chose the title for this article, I thought I’d give my opinion, support it with some facts, and that’d be the end of it. But once I started thinking more deeply about the subject, I realized this is quite a complex topic, with lots of facets and nuances. You’d need to look at employment, population growth, shopping, attractions, education, culture, tourism, entertainment, crime, and dozens of other issues to really be able to fully delve into trying to answer this question.

So instead, this article will serve more as an introduction to the question of whether Macon is “on the move” or not. In this first edition of the series, I plan to talk first about some personal memories of Macon some decades ago, and a bit later about something called urban scaling — as well as what Macon can learn from some real historical antecedents, ancient cities.

… Continue Reading

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