Euharlee finalizes charter revision changes, discusses CERT
by Jason Lowrey
Dec 19, 2012 | 1006 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Euharlee City Council moved one step closer toward approving its city charter as council members finalized their list of proposed edits during the Tuesday night work session.

An entire section requiring the council to provide a reason for firing a city manager was removed, as the council believed it was unnecessary. In the council’s Dec. 4 meeting, council member Joseph Turner raised concerns that the section created a “justifiable cause” situation. However, City Attorney Boyd Pettit told Turner that was not the case.

Charter Revision Committee Chairman Eric Smithey said the section was in the Georgia Municipal Association sample charter and Adairsville’s charter. While he said the council was free to edit the proposed charter as it wished, he urged them to speak with Pettit again before the final vote.

Other changes discussed included removing language giving the mayor sole power to appoint committees and chairpersons and cutting out a phrase requiring the mayor to prepare the city’s budget. If the edit is approved, the city manager will continue to prepare the budget.

Council member Craig Guyton asked that the revised charter be made available to Euharlee residents.

“My suggestion would be for us to instruct the city manager to, over the next couple of weeks, to allow for any citizen — for any Euharlee citizen — who wants to take a look at this before we vote on it, to come by and pay a small copying free and a get a copy of this, and read over it so that they can get in touch with us, as their representatives, for anything that they may not like or would like to see changed,” he said. “That’s something I think we should do for the citizens.”

A small number of copies will be available at city hall in the coming days.

Turner then spoke about rumors he had heard that criticized him, and the council, for asking too many questions about the revised charter.

“The charter is probably the most important document that we have. It’s the very foundation of which we work, how the city is run, how the city governs, the whole thing,” he said. “I got to say, I’m not like Nancy Pelosi. I don’t think we ought to vote on something and then find out what’s in it.

“I really hope most of the people in Euharlee appreciate the fact that we took the time to read this and ask questions before we voted on it.”

Council members Sammy Carden and Guyton said they had never heard such criticism or rumors.

Dennis Thayer then addressed the council, reminding them to approve the creation of a Community Emergency Response Team for Euharlee. The team, he said, did not need anything from the city aside from approval to get started and a place to meet.

“At this point in time all we need is having the wand moving over it to bless it, and having you be [supportive] of it. ... In order to be official, to say we’re the Euharlee CERT, we’ve got to have the city council, elected body, say, ‘We’re going to take this on; this is an official function of the city.’”

Thayer also hoped Bartow County would take over the program someday and expand it to the rest of the county. In the meantime, Thayer said he would act as the CERT leader while Euharlee Police Chief Terry Harget would act in an administrative capacity and as the city’s representative on the team.

Other council business included:

• Hearing a presentation from Howard Ralston of Liberty National Life Insurance. The company approached the city and asked for permission to offer additional benefit packages to city employees. If approved, there would be no cost to the city.

• Discussing the 2013 budget for the Euharlee Police Department. Every officer will receive a 3 percent pay raise with the exception of the newly hired administrative assistant.

The Euharlee City Council’s next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. at city hall.