DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Just 13 months after the Dawsonville City Council voted to reduce the mayor’s pay from $2,000 to $600 per month all but one council member now wants to increase the pay for the mayor and each council member.
By a vote of 3-1 during last night’s council meeting council approved the second reading of an amendment to the city charter that would nearly double the mayor’s pay to $1,000 per month plus $150 for each city council meeting and another $150 for each additional meeting pre-approved by city council. All that is in addition to approximately $20,000 in insurance benefits the mayor and council now receive.
If approved, the pay raises would not become effective until Jan. 2020.
A third reading and public hearing is set for Feb. 4 and, if approved, each council member also would receive an increase from $500 to $600 per month plus an additional $150 per city council meeting and $150 for an additional meeting per-approved by council.
Councilman Mark French — who was not on the council at the time the mayor’s pay was reduced, — voiced strong opposition. “I would like to state my continued opposition to any increase for the mayor or any member of the city council,” he said.
In a phone interview Wednesday, French said when the mayor’s pay was reduced, we were told the reason was the city had just hired – for the first time — a city manager who would take over many of the mayor’s responsibilities.
“But now council is looking to increase the salary and no additional duties have been added,” he said.
Former Mayor James Grogan has said the pay reduction was politically motivated to discourage him from running against current Mayor Mike Eason.
Grogan was removed from office by a vote of city council members who alleged he violated the city charter. He was replaced by Mayor Eason, who served on an interim basis until he defeated Grogan in the special election in March.
Eason said Wednesday, “I don’t know why council decided to reduce the mayor’s pay. I had nothing to do with that. That vote took place on my very first meeting as interim mayor.”
Eason also said to his knowledge nothing has changed with regard to the responsibilities of mayor and city council since the pay reduction was approved.
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