Macon-Bibb Mayor vetoes discrimination, renaming ordinance

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Macon-Bibb Mayor Robert Reichert vetoed two ordinances Wednesday, that have created quite a bit of debate recently.

The first veto prevents a local anti-discrimination ordinance. It would have amended the county’s code of ordinances, and allow for civil rights protections in public places.

It also called for a local option to deal with complaints instead of a federal one.

In a letter sent to the 41NBC newsroom, Mayor Reichert explained why he vetoed the ordinance.

The letter says in part quote, “There has been much concern raised that when applied to LGBTQ and/or SOGI individuals, the efforts to protect their rights perhaps interferes with the rights of other people. That concern, together with the status of legal review by the U.S. Supreme Court, lead me to believe that our Ordinance should be revised and refined, before being enacted.”

The letter goes on to say quote, “If we are to provide for the protection of some people, we must make sure it is done in a way that respects the rights of all people. Our legislative process, in this case, was not appropriate for the gravity and breadth of the subject matter. It was too late in the term (after the election of the next administration), it was too rushed (with little time for public input during the COVID epidemic), and amendments were not welcomed by its sponsors (in fact, there were none).
The other veto shuts down renaming the Macon City Auditorium after former Mayor C. Jack Ellis. Mayor Reichert also commented on why he decided to veto that ordinance as well.

The letter says in part quote, ” I have carefully reviewed the Resolution, and I must acknowledge that as the first African American Mayor of Macon, his time in office was truly memorable. However, I am constrained to observe the policy of the Macon-Bibb County Commission that prohibits the naming of a park, facility, or street for a living person, or within one year of their death. While I realize that policy allows for an exception “when warranted by exceptional circumstances”, I do not find those circumstances to be present in this case.

To read full details of the discrimination veto, click here.  For the full description of the Auditorium veto, click here.