Senator files bill to change City of Gordon’s charter
According to the senator, Gordon Mayor Mary Ann Whipple-Lue brought some suggestions about changing the city charter when he met with her, city council, and the rest of the delegation before the 2015 legislative session started.
Lucas asked the Middle Georgia Regional Commission to look at areas where the charter could improve and base the new one off of the Georgia Municipal Association’s “Model Cities Charter.” Lucas says he got the proposal last week, but has not had the opportunity to review it and compare it to the current city charter.
In January, Lucas bought an advertisement in the local paper to announce his plans to file the legislation. Lucas tells 41NBC he had to file the bill before session ends on April 2, so he does not have to start the whole process over again next year.
According to Gordon City Councilman Terry Eady, there are some differences from the current charter and the proposal. The bill states, “An abstention noted on the record shall be counted as a negative vote.” Eady says the current charter does not have that.
Also the process of removing an elected official is different. The current charter states it takes a vote of five city council members to remove the mayor or council person. The revised charter states “an impartial panel shall render a decision.”
The proposal also states the mayor pro tempe “shall not vote as a member of the council” while serving as mayor. Eady tells 41NBC the current charter doesn’t remove a mayor pro tempe’s power to vote if he or she is acting as mayor.
Eady adds most of the mayor’s powers are the same in both versions of the Gordon City Charter.
Lucas says he will meet with State Representative Bubber Epps and mayor and council before moving forward with any changes.
“Hopefully under the comparison between the two you will find out what might need to be changed, don’t need to be changed, or whether or not you do anything,” Lucas said.
Epps tells 41NBC he won’t do anything without getting the local government’s input first.
“I don’t think its our responsibility or our place to mandate a charter down to the local governments. They’re the ones that have to operate under that and their input is what we need to seek and obtain,” Epps said.
Lucas says since there are only seven legislative days left, he does not expect the bill to pass this year. He hopes to work on the charter and bring it back up next year.