Cliff Whitby is committed to seeing that the citizens of Macon-Bibb County can move forward as a unified community.
With his qualification to be a candidate for Mayor of Macon-Bibb, he put himself in a position to lead the way. Macon is the hometown of Cliff Whitby, and he has lived there his entire life.
He and his wife, Dr. T. Shantel King Whitby, have six daughters to which he provides for them through his current presidential and CEO position of Whitby, Inc., a company that offers construction services.
Whitby has served as the Chairman of the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority (MBCIA), the President of 100 Black Men of Macon-Bibb and the Tri-Chair of OneMacon.
He has also been a board member of Star Choices Inc., Boys & Girls Club, and BB&T Bank.
Here are some Cliff Whitby bullet-pointed answers to the media’s questions. Responses edited for brevity.
1. HOW WOULD YOU ADDRESS VIOLENT CRIME?
“Violent crime is an issue that has occupied so much of our team’s time as we have discussions with the stakeholders in this community.”
“These young people do not have the opportunities that they need to pursue certain aspects of life and their opportunities to go on and further their education and pursue their dreams. I think it’s going to take a significant amount of resources that are devoted to our youth and training and retraining, and actually being committed to supporting families.”
2. WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO TACKLE BLIGHT?
“We’ve made tremendous strides when we were intentional about the work of blight. When I started this work, it was called substandard housing,” Whitby said. “Being intentional about the work, being intentional about addressing blight (means) devoting resources and seeking support from the federal government to help.”
“We’ve got to get intentional about addressing the issues that cause blight. It’s not enough just to tear down a home. It’s not enough just to clean up a lot. You got to address the human component.”
“We’ve made great strides as we consolidated this government. We made great strides. We’ve just got to make sure that that’s spread to every corner of Macon-Bibb County, and we can do it.”
3. HOW WOULD YOU PRIORITIZE SPENDING TO IMPROVE ROAD CONDITIONS, SAFETY, AND TRAFFIC CONCERNS?
“I’m very proud of the work we’ve done in the passage of the last two SPLOST efforts in this community, the last three actually. But it’s going to take far more than just creative ways to raise taxes. It’s going to take far more than just creative ways to persuade a community to be okay with the millage going up. What it’s truly going to take is the commitment to support our young people.”
“We’ve got to really commit to creating a community that our young people find opportunity in and will lend it talents to moving this community in the direction that we want to go,” he said. “If we don’t have the strength to do things differently, this community can’t survive.”
4. WHAT CAN THE COUNTY GOVERNMENT DO TO ASSIST WITH IMPROVEMENTS IN THE BIBB COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM?
“With all due respect, it’s not a separate system. This is our system. We’re citizens of this community. We elect school board members from this community. The mayor of the consolidated government is the top elected official in this community. We have a serious problem with education.”
“Under the Whitby administration, it would be my number one priority to get the right people in the room, to get the stakeholders in the room, to get parents in the room, to get businesses in the room,” he said. “If we’re going to survive as a community, that has to be the number one priority.”
5. WHAT COUNTY DEPARTMENTS ARE OVERSTAFFED AND WHICH ARE UNDERSTAFFED AND WHAT CHANGES WOULD YOU MAKE?
“David Davis is a good friend of mine. I admire the work that he has done in this community,” Whitby said. “They are on the front line of this wave of crime and violence. I have very good friends in the sheriff’s department, and I think we owe it to them to make sure they have everything they need, and they’re not constantly trying to shop around for higher wages.”
“I’ve been in the room when we’re dividing up the dollars. I grow the pie. I don’t redivide the pie. We’ve got to grow,” Whitby said. “We can’t continue down this road.”
6. WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO IMPROVE RACE RELATIONS?
“We cannot talk about race without talking about privilege. There are those in this community that benefits from race division,” Whitby said. “We cannot continue to divide this community and expect to have a thriving prosperous community.”
“What I would do as the mayor is committed to bringing everybody to the table and leaving race outside of the door and making decisions that are in the best interest of this community,” Whitby said. “We know race is a major issue. It was here before we got here, and we hope we can help advance ending that as a major issue in our community.”