The Macon Water Authority

790 Second Street • Macon, GA 31202-0108 • (478) 464-5600

Board Members

Samuel F. Hart, Sr., Chairman (Elected County-wide)

Sam Hart was sworn into office as the Chairman of the Macon Water Authority on Jan. 8, 2015, shortly before presiding over his first board meeting. He followed Dr. Kirby Godsey as MWA Chairman, after Godsey had been appointed to serve the two years of the unexpired term of long-time Chairman Frank C. Amerson, Jr., following Mr. Amerson's death in the fall of 2012.

In addition to serving as Chairman of the MWA, Mr. Hart Chairs the Policy Committee, while also serving on the Finance and Engineering Committees. He also serves on the Macon Water Environmental Education Non-Profit Board.

Sam Hart is a professional consultant, small business owner, and public servant, perhaps best known as the former Chairman of the Bibb County Board of Commissioners, prior to Macon-Bibb government consolidation.

Mr. Hart is the Executive Director of the Middle Georgia Center for Academic Excellence, Inc., which operates two Educational Talent Search Programs and an Upward Bound Program. In addition, he is the President of S & V Education Systems Tutorial Center, which provides services for students in math, writing, reading, Georgia Assessments (CRCT, GHSGT, and EOCT), as well as SAT/ACT test preparations.

Mr. Hart's professional career in higher education also includes administrative positions held at Mercer University, where he served as Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Director of Minority Affairs, Director of Judicial Affairs, and Director of TRIO Programs, which included Upward Bound, Student Support Services, and Educational Opportunity Center.

His civic service has included time as the former President of the Council for Opportunity in Education, representing over 1,000 colleges, universities, and educational agencies, and as past Chairman of the Board of Directors for Alpha Phi Alpha Educational Talent Search. In addition, he serves on the Board of Directors for Government Employee Benefits Corporation of Georgia, as well as Co-chair for Emerging Leaders for TRIO Programs in eight southern states. He was a recipient of one of 10 National Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering mentoring.

Locally, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Museum of Arts and Sciences and the Board of Advisors for the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank in Macon, in addition to being a Founder and Vice President of 100 Black Men of Macon/Middle Georgia. In 2009, he served on the Regional Advisory Council for the Boys and Girls Club of Central Georgia and a year later as the Chairman of the Macon Area Transportation Study.

"The Chairman of the Macon Water Authority plays a vital role in both protecting our natural resources and helping bring economic development opportunities to Macon and Bibb County," said Hart during his campaign for the MWA Chairman seat. "I will work hard every single day to make the Macon Water Authority the best in Georgia."

Hart and his wife Faye have two children and two grandchildren, and they are members of Unionville Missionary Baptist Church.

Contact Sam Hart, MWA Chairman (Countywide):

478-745-1675 (Phone) (Email)


Frank Patterson, Vice Chairman (District 4)

Frank Patterson was elected as a Board Member of the Macon Water Authority in 2004, to serve the people of District 4 in Bibb County. Mr. Patterson was last re-elected to the District 4 seat in May of 2018.

In addition to being selected by his fellow MWA Board Members to serve the Authority as Vice Chairman, Mr. Patterson Chairs the Engineering Committee, while also serving on the Finance, Personnel, Pension, Policy, and Outdoor Recreation Committees, where he is a strong proponent of the annual MWA Kids Fishing Derby. Mr. Patterson is the Vice Chairman of the Macon Water Environmental Education Non-Profit Board, while also serving as an MWA Representative along with Dot Black on the Macon Economic Development Commission (MEDC). 

Mr. Patterson has worked in local government for over 35 years. He spent 29 years with Bibb County Government, working at the Tobesofkee Recreation Area as the assistant director. He also spent four years with the Bibb County Engineering and Public Works department. Additionally, he served as an inspector and project manager with Moreland and Altobelli.

Mr. Patterson was born in McRae, Georgia, but has lived in Macon since 1965. He graduated from the Georgia-Alabama School of Commerce with a certificate in accounting. He has also received certification from the National School of Conservation and the University of Georgia program for local government management.

Mr. Patterson and his wife Patricia have been married for over 39 years and have three children, 10 grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. They are members of the First Evangelical Church in Macon.

"I have made it my goal to make sure that the people in my district and all of Macon and Bibb County have the best water authority in Georgia, and I'm honored to have been selected by the people of District 4 to serve them in this position," says Patterson. "Since joining this Authority board, we have made tremendous strides, reflected in honors such as having the Best Tasting Drinking Water in North America. My goal is for the Authority to continue to improve facilities and services, while representing the people of District 4 to the best of my abilities."

Contact Frank Patterson, District 4:

478-808-2020 (Phone) (Email)


Dr. Anissa Jones (District 1)

Dr. Anissa Monique Jones, DC, is a Macon native and newest Member of the MWA Board, representing the citizens of District 1. Dr. Jones won the General Election for the District 1 seat of the Macon Water Authority in the summer of 2018.

Dr. Jones was sworn into office on Jan. 3, 2019, prior to beginning her term at the January 2019 MWA Board Meeting. Upon taking office, Dr. Jones was appointed by her fellow MWA Board Members to Chair the Authority's Personnel Committee, and likewise serve on the Board of Directors for Macon Soils and the Macon Water Alliance.

Professionally, Dr. Jones is the first African-American Chiropractor in Macon, Georgia, who has been practicing locally for more than 20 years. She received her B.S. in Biology from Fort Valley State University in 1994, and then continued on her path to a Doctor of Chiropractic from Life University in 1998. In addition, she also graduated with an MBA from Wesleyan College in 2005. 

Following a one-year residency and Associateship with Gaudet Chiropractic Center, she established her own practice -- Total Health Chiropractic and Wellness Center -- in 2002. As the first African-American in Macon to practice Chiropractic, Dr. Jones is committed to providing stellar care to all people, but especially those from her community. She is renowned for addressing the cause of symptoms by properly aligning the spine and by incorporating other natural methods of healing.

Dr. Jones is a celebrated physician in the region, being named as a top American Chiropractic by the Consumers' Research Council of America. She was awarded the 2005 Heritage Registry of Who's Who and the Foxington Registry of Who's Who Executives and Business Professionals. In 2013, Dr. Jones was given the distinct honor of becoming the first African-American and the first female to be the President of the Georgia Chiropractic Association for District 14. In 2017, she also was voted Best of the Best Chiropractic and Massage Therapy Facility in Macon. The following year, she was the recipient of the Viewer's Choice Award's "41's Top 41" by WMGT, Channel 41 NBC.

Dr. Jones is a distinguished 26-year member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, a 2004 alum of Leadership Macon, and a 2018 Middle Georgia Regional Champion. She is a State Committee Member of the Georgia Democratic Party, as well as an Executive Board Member of the Macon-Bibb County Democratic Party, where she serves as Chairman. Dr. Jones is President-Elect of the Main Street Macon Board, which is committed to the economic development and revitalization of the Central Business District of Downtown Macon. She is an Advocate with Citizen Advocacy, and she serves as a member of the Sisterhood Organization, which promotes HIV/AIDS awareness and testing in Middle Georgia. She also sponsors several adolescent and teen sports teams, proving uniforms and funding for children and youth in the region.

Finally, Dr. Jones is a serial entrepreneur, owning businesses in the area that include the Pink Chief Boutique, Pink Confetti Rentals, and Vanguard Motor Group. 

Contact Dr. Anissa Jones, District 1:

478-746-7246 (Phone) (Email)


Merritt Johnson, III  (District 2)

Macon Native Merritt Johnson, III was sworn into office of the Macon Water Authority on June 25, 2020, a week prior to his first Board Meeting. As a result of a Special Election held in June, the citizens of District 2 elected Mr. Johnson to serve out the remainder of the term for long-time Board Member Javors Lucas, who passed away in October. In addition to representing District 2 on the MWA Board, Mr. Johnson is part of the Authority's Engineering and Personnel Committees.

"The apple doesn't fall far from the tree," says Johnson, who comes from a legacy of Servant Leaders. His father, Merritt Johnson, Jr., was affectionately called "The Mayor of Bellevue," in reference to his leadership and compassion for the people in his community.

"I am my daddy's son," says Johnson, referring to his own affinity for leadership positions and his commitment to serve and care for others. As an example, Mr. Johnson is an Advisor of the Macon Kappa League, an organization that works with young men, locally.

Mr. Johnson has lived in Bibb County his entire life. As a young businessman, his dedication and professionalism are reflected in 19 years of experience in the insurance industry, including seven years as a local busines owner and entrepreneur. He is the owner of Merritt Johnson, III Country Financial. His office is always ready to serve the entire state of Georgia in person, over the phone, or digitally, he says.

Providing services in Auto Insurance, Homeowners Insurance, Renters Insurance, Business Insurance, Motorcycle Insurance, Life Insurance, and more, Merritt Johnson, III Country Financial is conveniently and strategically located in the heart of Georgia -- on Arkwright Road in Macon.

Mr. Johnson is a graduate of Macon's Southwest High. He then received his Bachelor's Degree in Marketing from Valdosta State University.

In addition to owning and operating his local businesses, Mr. Johnson is a Lifetime Member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, a member of Greater Bellevue Baptist Church, as well as a member of 100 Black Men of Macon-Middle Georgia. He also currently serves as a Board Member for the Diamonds On Our Mind Foundation.

Mr. Johnson says he would like the residents of District 2 to know that they have a voice and an ally to fight for their needs and best interests.

Contact Merritt Johnson, III (District 2):

478-319-1288 (phone) (email)


Dwight Jones (District 3) 

Dwight Jones joined the Macon Water Authority (MWA) as its District 3 Member in the summer of 2014, after winning a special election against three challengers, without a runoff, to fill the vacated seat. Mr. Jones was last re-elected in May of 2016, when he ran unopposed for the District 3 seat. He was sworn into office prior to January of 2017, beginning his first full term as the District 3 Member of the MWA. 

In addition to serving on the MWA Board from District 3, Mr. Jones Chairs the Authority's Finance and Pension Committees, while also serving on the Policy, Engineering, Personnel, and Outdoor Recreation Committees. Mr. Jones also is Chairman of the Board for the Authority's Non-Profit Subsidiary -- the Macon Water Alliance.

A life-long resident of Bibb County, Dwight is a local small business owner who specializes in leasing and managing commercial properties and retail storefronts. In addition, as a licensed general contractor, he offers businesses the ability to build to suit projects for their operations.

A noted self-starter who loves opportunities to improve business operations while providing vision for long-term objectives, Dwight has experience overseeing all aspects of operations for multiple entities, in addition to planning and executing strategic investments, which are primarily in commercial and agricultural real estate. It is his extensive business experience that he hopes will benefit the citizens of District 3 during his public service on the Macon Water Authority.

“As a life-long resident and small business owner in Bibb County, I am committed to helping move our community forward,” he says. “At its core, the Macon Water Authority is a business, and I believe my background will be useful in attracting new jobs while maintaining our clean and abundant water supply. I’m honored that the voters of District 3 have entrusted me with this serious responsibility, and it is one that I shall not take likely.”

Dwight notes that to ensure that future generations in Macon-Bibb County continue to live and work in a prospering community, the Water Authority must make sure its drinking water remains affordable, while its system offers capacity for growth and continues to meet the highest quality standards in the industry. 

“By marketing this (affordability, capacity, and quality) to industries and by putting a focus on job recruitment, the Authority becomes a catalyst for economic development and job creation,” he says.

Contact Dwight Jones, District 3:

478-238-3770 (Phone) (Email)


Larry Schlesinger, Macon-Bibb County Representative

Larry SchlesingerA true servant to the Macon-Bibb County Community, Rabbi Larry Schlesinger humbly serves the District 2 seat of the Macon-Bibb County Commissioners. He began his tenure on the Macon Water Authority's (MWA) Board of Directors in April of 2018, and presently serves as the Vice-Chairman of the Authority's Finance Committee.

A native of Washington, D.C., Rabbi Schlesinger received his B.A. in Religion from The George Washington University in 1973. He went on to rabbinic studies at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City, where he received his M.A. in Hebrew Literature in 1976, Rabbinic Ordination in 1978, and its Anna Lurie Prize in Human Relations and the Saul Aronwitz Prize in Jewish History. In 2003, the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Divinity. 

Rabbi Schlesinger is very active in Macon community affairs and civic activities. He is a graduate of the Leadership Macon Class of 2006, a member of the Rotary Club of Macon, and he serves the Bibb County Sheriff's Office as a deputized chaplain. He has served as President of the Macon Chapter of the American Cancer Society, as well as a Board Member of Macon's Center for Racial Equality, the Booker T. Washington Community Center, the Macon Symphony Orchestra, the Cox Capitol Theatre, the Grand Opera House, and Macon Area Habitat for Humanity. He is a religion columnist for the Macon Telegraph, an adjunct professor in Mercer University's Department of Religion, and he has authored and published articles regarding Bob Dylan's Jewish ties and spiritual journey.  

In November of 2007, Rabbi Schlesinger was elected by popular vote to a city-wide seat on the Macon City Council. During that initial term, he served as the Chairman of the City's Community Resources and Development Committee, as well as a member of its Public Safety Committee and the Police and Fire Pension Board. Re-elected again in 2011, Rabbi Schlesinger was appointed President Pro Tempore of the Macon City Council by its members, serving as a member of the Council's Community Resources and Development Committee, Public Safety Committee, Employee Development and Compensation Committee and the Fire and Police Employees Retirement System Board. 

In January of 2014, Rabbi Schlesinger was elected to the District 2 seat of the consolidated Macon-Bibb County Commission and was re-elected to serve another four-year term in 2016. He is currently the Vice-Chairman of the Commission's Economic and Community Development Committee, and also serves as a member of its Operations and Finance Committee.  

For over 40 years, Rabbi Schlesinger has been married to the former Darrie Simmons of New York City, NY, who is currently an AXA Financial Professional in Atlanta, GA and whom is additionally a very accomplished Jewish artist. They are the very proud parents of two grown daughters, Danielle and Arielle.

Contact Rabbi Larry Schlesinger, Macon-Bibb County Representative:

478-719-1257 (Phone)  (Email)


Bert Bivins, Macon-Bibb County Representative

Whether serving the County or Consolidated Government, Bert Bivins has been the people's choice for the Macon-Bibb County Board of Commissioners, not to mention the Commission's choice for the Macon Water Authority (MWA) Board of Directors.

Mr. Bivins was re-appointed by his fellow Macon-Bibb County Commissioners to serve another full term on the MWA Board, beginning in January of 2017. As one of the two appointed MWA Board Members from the Macon-Bibb County Commission, Mr. Bivins also is Vice Chairman of the MWA Personnel Committee, while also serving on the Board of the Authority's Non-Profit Macon Water Environmental Education.

In September of 2013, Mr. Bivins celebrated his election to the District 5 seat on the then newly consolidated Macon-Bibb County Commission, winning without a runoff. He had served previously as the District 2 representative on the Bibb County Board of Commissioners since 1995.

At the time of consolidation, Mr. Bivins was Chairman of the Committees on Properties and Ordinances & Resolutions for the Bibb County Commission. In addition to serving on the Commission and Authority Boards, Mr. Bivins has served as the liaison for the Macon-Bibb County Land Bank Authority, Health Department, Middle Georgia Regional Commission, and the Macon-Bibb County Economic Development Opportunity Council.

Mr. Bivins was born in Kathleen, Georgia, but moved to Macon-Bibb County when he was two years old. He was raised in Macon during a time when he was one of the first African-American students to integrate Bibb County public schools.

Mr. Bivins worked professionally for 30 years as a civilian in electronics at Robins Air Force Base, followed by another 10 years as a 5th and 6th grade teacher in the Bibb County School System. He graduated with a degree in middle school education from Fort Valley State University.

"Ever since I was 18 years old, I have made the effort to serve those in need in my community," explains Bivins. "I feel like my appointment to this (MWA) Board on behalf of the Commission is a great way to extend that service."

Bivins and his wife Barbara have two children.

Contact Bert Bivins, Macon-Bibb County Representative:

478-738-9466 (Phone)  (Email)



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