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Midway operates in a vacuum

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POSTED: February 19, 2013 9:00 a.m.

Generally, a mayor is considered the head of a city. He or she runs the day-to-day operations. A mayor should not make decisions in a vacuum. According to section 4 of Midway’s city charter, “The government, supervision, powers and control of the city of Midway shall be vested in a mayor and three (now four) councilmen.”
This means that the mayor cannot just do whatever she wants without the council’s approval.
In Midway, the mayor appears to operate in a vacuum and doesn’t seem to listen enough — especially to the citizens and city council — before making decisions and committing limited city resources and finances.
Since the city council is responsible for approving the budget and spending the city’s money, the council’s approval should have been given before an application from the Georgia Department of Transportation, which was received in September, was signed. The city was approved for a $13,730 grant for road repairs. It apparently was stated in the application affidavit that the local government (mayor and city council) had read the regulations for the Georgia Planning Act of 1989. As I understand it, though, the full council was not even aware of this application before Dec. 18, and it never was presented at a council meeting for approval.
Without council approval, the city was committed to a $144,000 project to pave Old Sunbury Trail. Since the mayor and council jointly control the city, shouldn’t this expenditure be presented at a council meeting?
In a similar matter, a contractor was given a 50 percent fee increase, and the issue never was brought before the council. When Councilman Terry Doyle said he wanted to see a copy of the contract, both the mayor and city clerk told him there was no contract.
This prompts many questions. When did they know there was no contract? Did they attempt to review a contract at the time they approved the pay increase? If so, then the pay increase must have come despite the fact the city and the contractor had no contract. At that point, the council should have been advised and the process for a new contract put in a motion.
According to Roberts Rules of Order, by which the council meetings are governed, Article X, section 60 states, “Where the regular meetings are held weekly, monthly or quarterly, the minutes are read at the opening of each day’s meeting, and, after correction, should be approved.”
I have yet to hear the minutes read.
I attend the council’s monthly meetings and read the minutes. I’ve noticed that controversial issues and happenings that take place during council meetings sometimes are left out of the official minutes.
Roberts Rules further states, “When the minutes are to be published, in addition to the strict record of what is done, as heretofore described, they should contain a list of the speakers on each side of every question, with an abstract of all addresses.”
I’ve noticed that some of these discussions are left out of the minutes.
The council voted to contract with Municode to codify ordinances. Most of our ordinances are missing or outdated, begging the question, “What’s there to codify?”
I have asked several times for our ordinances to be published, but the city clerk still has not published them. If our ordinances were handled properly, we would not need Municode.
I sure would like to see Midway’s officials work together under the rules and regulations of the city.

Calderone is a conservative who lives in Midway and has written for trade publications in various fields.

 

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