Senoia considering changes to charter

By ALEX MCRAE
alex@newnan.com
The Senoia Mayor and Council will have a public hearing Monday regarding a proposed amendment to the city charter.
According to a public notice published in The Newnan Times-Herald, the Nov. 5 hearing is to “seek and accept comments regarding the proposed Charter Amendment.” The current charter establishes a “weak mayor-council” form of government. The proposed amendment would establish a “council-manager” form of government, according to the notice by Senoia officials.
Copies of the proposed charter wording and the current charter wording are available on the city’s website — www.senoia.com.
Senoia resident Don Rehman recently sent an email to area media advising that he will be on hand to present remarks about the proposed changes to the Senoia charter.
Rehman, a retired U.S. Army Colonel who ran unsuccessfully for Senoia City Council in November 2011, charges that the city’s notice “is misleading/erroneous in that it states that the present form of Senoia government, as supposedly contained in the current charter, is a ‘weak mayor-council’ form of government.”
“By using such a mischaracterized terminology to describe the local government, it conveys to the public a false necessity that without adopting a council-manager form of government the city of Senoia may presently be in ‘peril’ or supposedly ‘out of control,’ or other ‘danger’; and thus conveys an unintentional impression of calamity; with a promulgation of the word ‘weak’ in the characterization of the present form of government.”

Rehman goes on to say that the current form of Senoia government is: Strong Mayor-Council (“Modified”).

He noted that in the current charter it states that: “All committees and committee chairs and officers of the city council shall be appointed by the mayor and shall serve at the pleasure of the mayor. The mayor shall have the power to appoint new members to any committee at any time. [Article II, Section 2.20 (b)].”

Rehman cites code sections outlining mayoral powers, as follows:

“A special meeting of the City Council can be held on call of the Mayor. [Article II, Section 2.19(b)]

“The Mayor presides at all City Council Meetings, is the official spokesperson for the City and the chief advocate of policy. The Mayor signs on behalf of the City all written and approved contracts, ordinances, and other instruments. The Mayor prepares and submits to the City Council a recommended annual operating budget and recommended capital budget. [Article II, Section 2.29]

“All appointed Officers and Directors are nominated by the Mayor and subject to removal or suspension at any time by the Mayor. [Article III, Section 3.10 (e)]

“The Mayor prepares the position classification and pay plan. Article III, Section 3.14]”

Rehman suggests in his email that the above cited authority implies that:

“The Mayor has the power to run/direct the entire day-to-day operations of the City of Senoia [Implied]

“The Mayor controls and can give directions/instructions directly to the City Clerk, Senoia Police Department, and to all other Department Heads. [Implied]

“The Mayor controls the Agenda for all Meetings of the City Council; with additions after publication of Agenda items being subject to Council approval. [Implied]

“The Mayor controls the actual disbursement of City Funds by signing all checks [Implied].

“The Mayor answers Policy Questions and takes other actions without the necessity to seek specific approval for every action from the City Council. [Implied]”

Rehman adds that, “I characterize the present form of Senoia City government as Strong Mayor-Council (Modified) because the mayor does not have the authority to veto legislation passed by the city council and there may be some Senoia ordinances that might, in minor fashion and extent, slightly modify the classic Strong Mayor-Council form of government.”

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. Monday at the Senoia Municipal Court building at 505 Howard Road.



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