Euharlee council considers revised charter
by Jason Lowrey
Dec 05, 2012 | 1530 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Euharlee City Council members were able to ask City Attorney Boyd Pettit, and the City Charter Revision Committee, questions about the revised city charter during the council’s Tuesday night meeting. Council member Joseph Turner led with a number of questions ranging from language designating who pays for sidewalk repairs to the firing process for the city manager.

Most of Turner’s questions led back to an issue the revision committee repeatedly discussed itself — how much power should Euharlee’s mayor have?

One change proposed in the revised charter was giving the mayor sole power in creating committees and appointing committee members and chairpersons. Council members Turner, Steve Worthington and Craig Guyton all voiced opposition to the proposed change.

Turner also expressed concern about the number of council members needed to form a quorum. In the revised charter, the mayor would gain the ability to cast a vote on all decisions, not only as a tiebreaker. As the revised charter requires only three council members present to form a quorum, Turner was concerned the other two council members could be cut out on some decisions.

“This is all an elected procedure for us to represent the people of this community,” he said. “Personally, I believe if more than one of us — or more than two — if there was some kind of tragedy or something happens, it’s not a big deal to move a meeting from one Tuesday to the next Tuesday.

“I don’t like the idea of cutting the quorum down to three instead of four.”

However, Pettit said his interpretation of the current city charter allowed a quorum to consist of three council members, not four. He continued, saying a quorum of four could make it more difficult to conduct city business. If two council members did not support a decision the other three would make, the two council members could boycott the meeting and force the vote to another session, as there would not be enough council members to form a quorum.

Eric Smithey, chairman of the revision committee, said the increased powers they gave the mayor was an attempt to define the position and make it equal to other council members.

“Why would someone want to be mayor? What does the mayor do? What can the mayor do? It’s really nothing,” he said. “It wasn’t completely to make a strong mayor. It was to make an equal mayor.”

Other proposed changes Turner questioned included the addition of a protocol for firing the city manager, adding language describing the city manager as the executor of the city council’s decisions and making the mayor present the yearly budget while the city manager prepared it.

A compromise was found on the last issue, with the new changes making the mayor responsible for preparing and presenting the budget if no city manager is available. The city manager will continue to prepare and present the budget under the revised charter.

While Pettit’s clarification of a number of issues answered Turner’s questions, he said there were still some changes he did not support.

No vote was taken on approving the revised charter, as Worthington had not read the entire document. The council will further discuss the charter at its next work session.

Other city council business included:

• Approving a $9,141.28 invoice from the Bartow County Animal Shelter.

• Approving Brandon Bowen as the city’s zoning attorney.

• Approving 2012 budget amendments.

• Approving a MPO resolution with Bartow County.

• Approving a transmittal resolution for the city’s Short Term Work Plan.

• Approving Joe Cowan Park payables in the sum of $381,740.10.

• Approving additional Joe Cowan Park contracts in the total sum of $13,168.

• Approving agreements and management contracts for the Five Forks Road and Covered Bridge Road intersection project.

The Euharlee City Council’s next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. at city hall.