DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – After Dawsonville’s City Council held the first public hearing on slashing the mayor’s pay by 70 percent from $2,000 to $600 a month Monday, former mayor James Grogan accused council members of trying to keep him from running in the March 20 special election.
“It’s a punitive action to keep me from running,” Grogan said Tuesday. “It all revolves around their ongoing effort to discredit me and keep me from wanting to run. I’m disappointed in what is going on with council.”
City council impeached Grogan in May, alleging that he had violated the city charter and policies. Grogan has repeatedly maintained his innocence.
He filed an appeal in Dawson County Superior Court, but Judge C. Andrew Fuller ruled the appeal had been improperly filed. At that point, Grogan chose to discontinue his appeal and announced he would campaign for his old job in the next special election.
“My heart is still in serving the citizens of Dawsonville, and I believe, ultimately, it is their decision and not some random judge to decide,” he said at the time. “So, instead of continuing the fight through the legal process and to prevent city council from spending any more of your tax payer funds frivolously on legal fees, I am here to take the high road and say, let’s stop this now. Let’s put this back up to the voters.”
City Manager Bob Bolz says the proposed reduction in pay is not punitive but reflected the new responsibilities of the job.
“When the late Joe Lane Cox was mayor, he also fulfilled the responsibilities of city manager,” Bolz said. “That carried forward into Mayor Grogan’s tenure.”
Now that the city has a full-time city manager, Bolz said, the responsibilities have changed and council felt the pay should change as well.
A second public hearing on the issue is set for Dec. 18.
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