Readers know that our previous City Manager has resigned but is still receiving over $9,000 per month pay until May. More about that part later. In the meantime, our former mayor, Brad Hulsey, has been filling in as "Interim" City Manager.
The City Manager position is very important in our form of Manager-Mayor-Council form of Government. He/she is responsible for the everyday running of the City (see my first article). This form of operating is the most popular in ours and many other states.
For it to work the elected officials are the policy makers, just like the Board of Directors for a company except that the City can make law and charge taxes. They must let the Manager do their jobs with the least amount of interference.
That does not mean that he/she does not report to them. Ideally they should report at least once per month and certainly keep them abreast of anything pertaining to the well being of the City.
It is no secret that our town has not dealt well with this issue. During the past 10 years we have had four different managers. Then we had long periods (eighteen months) where the Mayor served a dual role of mayor and manager.
This will not go down well when finding a new City Manager of quality. Prospective candidates will pass on us just on that issue by itself. This is one reason that I have long proposed that we have a search committee made up of professional managers to suggest three candidates to the Mayor/Council.
You can find that in my previous columns and I told the Mayor/Council about my idea long before I left. So far, it does not seem that the powers that be are taking me up on this. In fact they have not even posted the position on the City Hall bulletin board! So I guess they have not advertised the job in the many magazines and websites available to folks looking for City Managers jobs.
Now, it is reported elsewhere, that the mayor claims they are reviewing the qualifications so they can put together a job description. Why so? They already have them ready and left over from before.
They might need a small amount of "tweaking" but this should not take five weeks, which is the time Rick Eckert resigned until now. Why the delay? This needs to be answered. As the bankers always say "time is of the essence".
Regarding the over $9,000 per month paid to Eckert. He said that he would be available as a "consultant". Fine. Let him work his next six weeks getting that $90,000 out of the clutches of a non-existent committee, DAPS (Development Authority of Powder Springs) and into a line item in the budget for an Economic Developer as suggested in the Georgia Power paid for Fanning Institute report just announced at the City Wide meeting.
Where there is a will there is a way...
I plan to follow this issue carefully and fully until we have a competent new Manager especially one who has no current ties to the city or especially to any City Official.
I suggested in a previous report that sources in City Hall said that the Mayor has somehow told City Attorney Richard Calhoun to write an answer to one of my columns. I also wondered if he had charged the City for his time.
Not so says another reliable source. It appears that he was answering the column because it cast some doubt on his law firm of which he is a partner. The City did not pay him.
I have stated from day one that I wanted to make sure that what I write about is accurate and anyone who thinks, with good reason, that there needs to be a correction shall have it.
It would be helpful if the City would try to make sure that reports are made public without citizens having to go through the process of filing open records requests.
Certainly if you are simply asking for some flyer that was handed out at a meeting should be available at no or very minimal cost to the citizens. For records that go back some time the Open Records Act gives Cities the ability to charge what are supposed to be reasonable charges. I will be writing about this at some later date.
Thanks for reading,