MACON CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE FORUM - Specifics Released (Public Encouraged to Attend)


The Home Press is sponsoring the Macon City Council Candidate Forum being held at the Macon Middle School Gym at 7 p.m. on March 21st. Moderators Ben Nelson and Shellie Claiborne met close to a week and a half ago and ironed out the specifics of the forum. We have learned so much from the last forum on February 26th between those running for Mayor. This forum will be LIVE and we are triple checking to make sure our equipment works correctly before hand. Right now, unfortunately we will be using an iPad or iPhone to broadcast the forum LIVE on Facebook (video quality could be grainy), however, we will still record the forum with our camcorder and post it shortly after as a back-up plan. To watch the forum LIVE on March 21st, please go to the Facebook Profile/Page of Benjamin Nelson - Broadcasting it on The Home Press Page last time was the problem. The public is encouraged to attend! We are estimating anywhere close to an hour and fifteen to an hour and a half for the forum, considering we have six candidates. In an email sent out to the candidates, the rules of the forum are as follows:

1. Each candidate will be given one and a half minutes to answer any questions asked to them, including their opening and closing statements!

2. The candidates cannot bring any information with them to the forum

3. The moderators will release two questions one week before the forum to allow candidates to develop specific answers for them!

4. Due to the number of candidates and the amount of time we have for the forum (hour and fifteen minutes), there will be NO time for rebuttals.

5. Each candidate will have their own table.

6. The public will not be involved in any way during the forum.

7. Going from left to right from the perspective of the moderators looking toward the candidates, we will start with Ward 1, Ward 2, Ward 3, and Ward 4. Each candidate will be alphabetized by last name in their respected ward; Ward 1 Ernie Lea and Taylor Wesley, Ward 2 Tony Petre, Ward 3 Jerold Carr and Craig VanDeraa, and Ward 4 Jerry Thompson.

8. Ernie Lea will start off first with the opening statement segment and moving forward with every question, we will move the first slot to speak down the line – giving everyone the chance to be first while answering the question. For example: Considering Ernie Lea spoke first for opening statements, Question 1, Taylor Wesley will speak first, Tony Petre second, Jerold Carr third, Craig Vanderaa fourth, Jerry Thompson fifth, and Ernie Lea sixth; then for Question 2, Tony Petre will speak first and so on. I hope that makes sense!

9. Each candidate will be asked the same number of questions as the other candidates; no matter if you are in a competitive ward or not.

10. For the most part, every single question will be the exact same question posed to each candidate, however, there could possibly be one or two that differ between each candidate!

11. This forum will be LIVE on Facebook. Technology WILL work this time!

12. There will be a designated time keeper who will allow both the crowd and you the candidate, know how much time you have left for your answer! This means that Shellie and myself will be actively participating in the forum and will not allow “skirting around the question” to happen!

This doesn’t guarantee that Shellie and I will even incorporate this aspect into the forum, but to see how creative you can be, I would like for you all to develop a question for the other candidates including those of other Wards; please specify who the questions are for – at the end you should have a total of five questions (one for each candidate). Send all of the information I have asked for, privately to my email (separate from this correspondence chain) so that other candidates will not see your information or the questions you have developed! I will then forward everything to Shellie! This is due March 14th!

- Conclusion of the email -

The public is highly encouraged to attend. If you have any questions you would like for us to ask to the candidates, please email them to me at EVERYTHING IS ANONYMOUS! If you have any recommendations, ideas, or anything pertinent to the forum, please also email us! We would love to hear from you! We would also like to hear from you about any changes you wish to see from the last forum to this forum!