Created: Wed, 21 Aug 2013 09:45:00 EST
Updated: Thu, 22 Aug 2013 11:32:11 EST
Three candidates for Mayor of Macon-Bibb's new consolidated government sat out of Wednesday's night debate put on by the Bibb County Democratic Party. All three say they did not participate because they disagree with a $50 registration fee.
"I just think it's ridiculous to have to pay fifty dollars to take part in a mayoral debate and a forum," said write-in candidate and community activist Anthony Harris.
"If I'm going to pay them, I need to go back to the League of Women Voters, I need to pay them, I need to go to the other organizations and pay them, it's wrong," said Bibb County Commissioner Joe Allen.
Macon Mayor Robert Reichert, former Mayor C. Jack Ellis, Bibb County Chairman Sam Hart, and Former Bibb County Chairman Charlie Bishop all participated in the debate.
Allen, Harris, and Businessman David Cousino took the night off.
"That's one of the major reasons why this city has gone down in a downward spiral, because it's all about the good ole boy networks," Cousino said.
"Anytime you're missing parts of the puzzle, you're selling the city short," Harris said.
Bibb County Democratic Executive Board Member John Swint has previously said the fee is purely to raise funds. With the local elections now being non-partisan, swint says the political parties no longer receive portions of candidates qualifying fees.