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Removing the mayor from the mix?

Ordinances on hiring, firing of city manager appear to limit mayor’s role

POSTED: November 8, 2017 10:00 a.m.

The Hinesville City Council is moving forward with changes to city ordinances that appear to limit the mayor’s involvement in the hiring and firing of future city managers.

Both proposed changes could be voted on at the city’s Nov. 16 meeting.

Council members have pushed since July to change the ordinances, section 2-282 and 2-286, at the behest of Councilwoman Diana Reid, who moved to have new language drafted by the city attorney to clarify the appointment and hiring of the city manager position.

During the Aug. 3 meeting council members also requested language clarification for the section of the ordinance that deals with the removal of the city manager.

The ordinance, section 2-282, now reads that the city manager “shall be appointed by a majority vote of the mayor and city council for an indefinite term.

If approved, the ordinance will read, “The city manager shall be appointed by a majority vote of the city council for an indefinite term and shall fix the manager’s compensation.”

The proposed amendment to the ordinance on how to suspend or remove a city manager also removes the mayor from the process.

Interim City Manager Kenneth Howard said the amendments are clearer than the current ordinances.

“Essentially what it does is clarifies language that governs the appointment, term, qualifications and removal of city manager,” Howard said.

“Is that the GMA (Georgia Municipal Association) model?” Reid asked. “Is that the GMA model that the mayor requested that we use? I am in agreement with it.”

Hinesville Mayor Allen Brown responded, “By the way and for the record I didn’t request it. Somebody else asked him to and I agreed with it. I thought it was a good idea to look at their model. But I did not request it.”

“Well it’s a good idea to use the GMA model,” Reid replied.

The city has posted the job vacancy for city manager. Applications will be accepted until Dec. 18. Minimum starting salary is listed at $109,789.

Reid and councilmembers Vicky Nelson and Keith Jenkins voted to suspend former city manager Billy Edwards in June due to Reid’s apparent belief that he was trying to have her removed from council.

Edwards, who served as the city’s manager for nearly four decades, has since resigned.

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