Editor, After attending a recent city meeting, I don’t think the city of Ludowici has adopted a municipal code of ordinances for more than 27 years or longer.
I attended the May 10 city council meeting and haven’t been able to get this nagging thought off my mind, so I will share the information that I heard at this meeting.
Last summer, I requested the city ordinance book. To begin with, I was told the ordinance book had been misplaced, but it eventually showed up and I sat in the lobby and read through it. Its condition was terrible. It was very old and I noticed the city of Darien was mentioned in the last part of the book instead of Ludowici. Nothing was said at this time so I believed this was our ordinance book. No one told me at the time it wasn’t adopted as our municipal code of ordinances, so I assumed it was legally ours.
The chief of police had these documents retyped in an orderly fashion and replaced the word Darien with Ludowici. He introduced this to the council at the April 2011 meeting, and they had a month to read through it before they took action. At the time, I don’t think the chief knew whether the Darien ordinance code ever had been adopted by the city of Ludowici.
I couldn’t believe what was said next. Councilman Frank McClelland, who has served on the council for 27 years, said he couldn’t accept it because certain wording in these documents conflicted with the city charter. His claim was that it never had been adopted so I don’t think we’ve ever had a municipal code of ordinances that are the laws and rules our city has to go by.
The charter includes certain laws, but you must realize the charter was written in 1923. There have been some amendments, but very few. I believe the only way a charter can be amended is through an act passed by the General Assembly of Georgia. The last time it was changed, the court recorder (judge) position changed from an appointed position to an elected position. The salary before the change was $300. The new salary was set between $300-$500.This was in 1980.
Once more, this issue has been tabled for two months. I know governments in general are known for their lack of speed, but this has been 27 years or more. If we don’t have a city ordinance, we are left with state law. Thank God we have that. The charter itself uses the word “ordinances” at least 26 times, so apparently there should be an ordinance book somewhere that originally was written for our city.
The following excerpt is taken from the city charter:
“Section 18 (A): The mayor shall be the chief executive officer of the city of Ludowici. He (she) shall see that all laws, ordinances, resolutions and rules of said city are faithfully, fully, impartially executed and enforced, and that all of the officers or employees of said city faithfully and impartially discharge the duties required of them. He (she) shall have general supervision and jurisdiction of the affairs of said city, and shall preside at all meetings of the said city council; and shall preserve order and decorum, shall enforce the rules and regulations of the body, and shall have power to punish all persons for contempt of such rules and regulations as the city council of Ludowici may prescribe.”
— Janis M. Goode