Editor's Note: Attached to this column is the resolution that allowed Pat Vaughn to serve as mayor and city manager, an affidavit verified by the City Council from the executive session when Vaughn's salary increase was discussed, and an email to then-finance director Gina Auld detailing the mayor's increase.
By Pat Vaughn
It appears that local elections now follow the pattern of state and national elections by virtue of the misinformation about, and personal attacks on, candidates running for office.
Sadly, in Powder Springs this year, some few citizens and non-citizens have chosen to join the uninformed tide of the likes of the Occupy Wall Street protestors, who have a bone to pick with anyone who is in an elective or appointed position in city government. They want change just for change’s sake, regardless of truth and facts that would advise stability in local government.
Usually this type of behavior is born out of a personal dislike of someone or some decision, regardless of the virtue of a person or decision being maliciously attacked.
Some local individual has chosen to make an issue out of a decision that occurred approximately five years ago, as a result of a unanimous consensus by the Powder Springs City Council.
Mr. Dane Perry, the city manager at the time, had just resigned, and the city of Powder Springs was left with no city manager to run the day-to-day operations. The City Council met in December 2005 and passed a resolution authorizing the mayor to perform the duties usually assigned to a city manager, until such time as a city manager could be hired.
I performed this work with no additional compensation while trying to work at my own private business, as well as performing the duties of the mayor of Powder Springs. In April of 2006, the council met in executive session to discuss additional compensation for me to offset the weekends, holidays, nights and time away from my personal business that it was taking to perform all of the roles I had been given.
I want this to be very clear: I was not in attendance at that executive session, I had no role in the compensation discussion, and as I understand the meeting, it was unclear if there was a vote taken in executive session.
But there appeared to be a consensus of the entire council that my pay as mayor was to be temporarily increased to help offset the long hours and time away from my family and personal business. I did not receive a city manager's salary. My pay as mayor was temporarily increased by $3,000 per month without additional benefits, until such time as a new city manager could be found.
This is not even one-third of a city manager’s salary for a city the size of Powder Springs, which averages $120,000 per year. The council was unanimous in deciding how much to temporarily increase my pay, and again, I was not present for, or involved in, the meeting or any of the discussions regarding this issue.
There was never an outcry from a single council member or any citizen. There was never a challenge to the temporary increase in the mayor's pay, and the executive session affidavit and the resolution involved were signed by the council, all of the council. For this to be brought up at this particular time, after all these years, proves that this is a cheap shot by someone who does not have the best interest of the city at heart.
This is also proved by the person who is bringing this up and not signing their real name to any complaint. Anonymity is the sign of someone with something to hide, who knows what they are doing is disingenuous at best.
In defense of the City Council at the time, members did not know of any violation of any charter provision, or local or state law. They acted out of concern for the enormous amounts of time I was donating to the city at a personal financial loss to myself.
I find it interesting that this issue is directed at me during my campaign for mayor, when I was not present at the discussion or action by the council at that time.
And there is no mention of any wrongful act directed at any council member who was seated at that time. I can't help but wonder why. Surely no one who was present at that executive session in 2006, participated in, and consented to temporarily increasing the pay of the mayor for being tasked with the additional duties necessary to keep the city functioning properly, would now, at this time, make an issue of it using a pseudonym purely for political gain.
I like to think better of my fellow elected officials at that time, as I know them all very well, and my friends who served with me would not stoop to this type of tactic.
But once again, anyone wanting to know the facts can come to City Hall, file open records requests, and see for themselves that that issue was done above-board and without my attendance, participation or urging.
I want to thank all of those council members who supported and served with me during that difficult time, which included the flooding and the start of the economic downturn, and the changes we have had to go through until we were able to find a new city manager.
Those who know me know the long hours required for the job as mayor, let alone the additional duties and responsibilities of a city manager at the same time. I have served this city with honor, integrity, and openness, and will continue to do so. And I promise I will never post a comment in any media using a false name to hide behind.
Pat Vaughn has been the mayor of Powder Springs since 2004.