Macon-Bibb Commissioners vote against overriding mayor’s mask veto

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A motion Tuesday to override Macon-Bibb Mayor Robert Reichert’s veto of a mandatory face covering ordinance failed to pass.

Commissioners voted in favor of a mask mandate on July 21 before Reichert’s veto less than a week later.

“I regret that this has become a political issue,” Reichert told commissioners during Tuesday’s meeting. “I would deny any pressure from the governor’s office or any threat of withholding any money or funding. Nothing like that that I’m aware of.”

Reichert said he discussed with Bibb County Sheriff David Davis the enforcement of a mask mandate and that Davis reminded him that Governor Brian Kemp had deputized all sheriffs statewide to enforce the governor’s executive order, which did not require the use of face coverings.

“Therefore, he couldn’t enforce, and we don’t have a separate police department,” Reichert told commissioners. “So it really gets down to an unenforceable ordinance, and an unenforceable ordinance, in my humble opinion, just promotes contempt of the law.”

“I think that it says that we have contempt for the health of our citizens if we vote any other way than to override,” Commissioner Elaine Lucas responded. “There’s no other way to express any kind of feelings on this other than either you are for the health and well-being of this community or you’re not.”

Commissioner Valerie Wynn responded to Lucas.

“It’s unfair for anyone to say that if we don’t vote to override, that we don’t care about peoples’ health,” Wynn said. “That is absolutely untrue and should not have been made as a comment.”

“I wish it was as simple as mandating masks to curtail or manage the spread of this virus,” Wynn continued, before saying she has chosen to wear a mask in public herself and will continue to do so.

Commissioners Bert Bivins, Elaine Lucas, Larry Schlesinger, Al Tillman and Virgil Watkins voted in favor of overriding the mayor’s veto.

Commissioners Joe Allen, Mallory Jones, Valerie Wynn and Scotty Shepherd voted against overriding the mayor’s veto.

Six votes were needed to override the veto.

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(478) 745-4141 ext. 310 Tucker Sargent joined the 41NBC news team in April 2012. He hails from "The Great State of Alabama," as he calls it, but you won't catch him saying "Roll Tide!" Tucker grew up near Auburn, before moving to north Alabama. He graduated from Danville High School in 2007 and loves to return to the Tennessee Valley any chance he gets. He moved back south to Troy, Alabama after high school, where he graduated from Troy University in 2011 with a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism. He interned in Huntsville at WAAY-TV before joining 41NBC. His passion is sports, and his favorite teams are the Auburn Tigers and Troy Trojans. On the weekends you can catch Tucker watching college football on Saturdays and NASCAR on Sundays! He's proud to call middle Georgia home for now and could always use a story idea from you, so don't hesitate to get in touch with him!