Unlike many people, I actually think history will judge former (by one day now) Mayor Jack Ellis well. That is, assuming he doesn't get indicted by the feds, which I really don't think he will.
Of course, the mere fact that you have to add that caveat says a lot.
I spent some of last night with the mayor. He actually dedicated some benches at the city's Terminal Station at about 11:15 p.m. - 45 minutes before his term officially ended at midnight.
The benches were in the station when it opened in 1916, then were taken out some time after the mid 1970s. They were found in storage, but had clearly been left outside for some time.
Anyway, the mayor got them put back in, and the contractor told me last night that they held up so well over the years because they're made of old wood. Apparently lumber trees these days are given so many steroids, etc., and grow so fast that there is a lot of space between the annual rings. But old wood grew much slower, so it's more compact and holds up better.
These benches are made of Tiger Grain White Oak, the contractor, Joel Simms, told me.
Anyway, the mayor was so happy with the work that he extended Simms' contract on the spot, asking him to put benches into another room at the Terminal Station.
"I think a verbal contract... as good as written contract," Ellis said as he shook Simms' hand.
We'll see if the city honors this contract change, which would presumably be beneath the $10,000 spending threshold that would have required council approval.
The mayor was about to head to the car the city provides its mayors, which he said he has purchased from the city and will keep. That's something of a tradition for mayors, I believe. But first he noticed a trash can in the Terminal Station that was really full. Apparently it hadn't been emptied in several days.
To the best of my knowledge, Jack Ellis' last act as mayor of Macon was to tell a staff member to make sure that trash can got emptied.
Then he got in his car and drove home to pack. He was supposed to catch a plane for the Carribean this morning at 8 a.m.
The last thing he said to me was "maybe you'll cover my Congressional campaign."
He told the local Fox news channel last night that members of the Islamic community (he converted to Islam earlier this year) have pledged to raise $1 million if he does run.
We'll see. I doubt he will actually run against Jim Marshall, as he has said he may do. But he also owns a home in DeKalb County, and said last night he may run for Cynthia McKinney's old seat in District 4.
Now, wouldn't that be something?
Ells on Tuesday, saying goodbye to his long-time executive secretary Marie Chatman, who will go to work for the city attorney's office now. Marie often told me she'd pray for me. I hope she keeps it up.