City Council approves mayor’s pay raise, 3-1

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawsonville City Council voted 3-1 Monday (Feb. 4) to approve an amendment to the city charter that will increase the mayor’s salary from $600 to $1,000 per month starting in 2020.

Councilman Mark French, who has opposed the pay raise from the beginning, cast the dissenting vote.

Other changes to the city charter approved by last night’s vote include language to better describe how council members are to be elected following the addition of new posts and that they must live in their district for at least one year prior to being elected.

The provision in the amendment that would have increased council members salary from $500 to $600 was stricken before the vote was taken.

French’s motion to table a vote until after the state legislature passes or rejects it died for lack of a second.

Attorney Kevin Tallant, whose Cumming-based law firm Miles, Hansford and Tallant represents the City of Dawsonville, said, “I don’t believe it’s necessary to table it until after the legislature acts. I understand your request but I don’t see a legal impediment to you moving forward.”

To which French replied, “Just because something is legal doesn’t always mean it is the right thing to do.”

French voiced several objections to the amendment. He pointed to wording on the first page that states: “Whereas the charter of the City of Dawsonville has not been substantially revised since its passage in the Georgia Legislature since April 1996 …”

“That is not a true statement,” he said. “It was amended in Dec. ’17.”

Regarding the pay raise, he said, “I do not think this is justified. I do not support it and I will not vote for it.”

He also objected to Section 5.11e which calls for the creation of “four council member districts of approximately equal population.”

French said, “The districts have already been created so there is no need to recreate them. These districts were approved by this council at our June 4 regular meeting in 2018.”

Tallant expressed frustration at French’s objections. Three times, he seemed to scold him for not raising the objections earlier.

“First of all, I’ll say I am a little disappointed this is the third reading and second public hearing and this is the first time I’m hearing some of these things. I’m certain these things could have been brought up before.”

Later when Tallant said, “Again, that’s something that could have been brought up earlier if you had a concerns about it.”

French quickly shot back, “Anybody. It could have been brought up by anybody. Mr. Tallant, I suggest you not question my timing.”

“Understood,” Tallant responded.

There was also a tense exchange between French and Councilman Jacob Phillips when French wanted to know who proposed raising the mayor’s salary.

“On the record, I have talked to every one of the council members, including yourself and no elected official I know brought this up,” Phillips said.

“So how did it get there,” French asked. “I think when you’re spending the people’s money, you ought to be able to tell them how these things transpired.”

 

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

 

Author

City Council set to backtrack on reduction in mayor’s pay

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — In a complete reversal of its Dec. 2017 decision to slash the mayor’s pay, Dawsonville City Council members are now expected to vote for a substantial increase not only in the mayor’s pay, but for each council member when they meet Monday at 5:30 p.m. at city hall.

Councilman Mark French has been adamantly opposed to the pay raise since the idea surfaced during a public hearing on Jan. 7.  Two weeks later, during the second public hearing, French said, “I would like to state my continued opposition to any increase for the mayor or any member of the council.”

In a phone interview with Fetch Your News the next day, 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.

If the increase is approved, it would nearly double the mayor’s pay to $1,000 per month plus $150 for a city council meeting and another $150 for each additional meeting pre-approved by city council. Council members’ pay would 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. All that is in addition to approximately $20,000 in insurance benefits the mayor and council now receive.

A number of people have questioned why city council has backtracked on the issue.

Former Mayor James Grogan thinks he knows the answer.

Grogan has said the pay reduction was politically motivated. In 2016, Councilmen Jason Power and Caleb Phillips and former Councilwoman Angie Smith voted to oust Grogan from office for alleged violations of the city charter. Grogan went to court to get his job back, but lost.

He says when Phillips, Power and Smith got word he planned to run against then interim mayor Mike Eason in a special election they voted to reduce the pay to deter him. Grogan did run again, but was defeated by Eason.

In other action under the consent agenda Monday, council is expected to approve:

  • The Get Your Glow On 5k Race scheduled for Mar. 8;
  • A special event alcohol permit for Georgia Racing Hall of Fame for Mar. 2;
  • Auditing services RFQ;
  • Construction Management Services RFQ;
  • Storm water Facility Management agreement;
  • A motion to table the parking project at city hall.

Under New Business, council is expected to vote on:

  • An amendment to the garbage service ordinance;
  • Red Oak Sanitation contract;
  • Calculation of service charge for garbage service.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

Author

Dawsonville City Council wants to increase pay for mayor and council members 13 months after voting for a decrease in pay

News

Mike Eason

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.

Mark French

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.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

 

Author

Dawsonville City Council will meet Jan. 8

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawsonville City Council will hold its first regular meeting of the new year on Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. on the second floor of the Dawsonville Municipal Complex, 415 Highway 53 East, Suite 100.

Issues to be addressed include mayor and council board designations, appointments to the Historic Preservation Commission and a service agreement for preventative maintenance of the city’s generators.

There will also be staff reports from City Manager Bob Bolz, City Clerk Beverly Banister, Finance Administrator Hayden Wiggins, Utilities Director Gary Barr, Public Works Operations Manager Trampas Hansard and Planning Director Casey Majewski as well as the mayor and city council.

Council is expected to go into Executive Session to discuss potential or pending litigation, personnel, and/or land acquisition.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

Author

Public hearing on FY 2018-19 budget Monday

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga — The Dawsonville City Council will hold a public hearing on the fiscal year 2018-19 budget Monday in the G.L. Gilleland Council Chambers on the second floor starting at 7 p.m.

The proposed spending plan calls for $5,755,543 in both revenue and expenditures. That represents an increase of $726,777 since last year. Council will vote on the budget June 18.

The major revenue sources are projected to be the local option sales tax ($998,100), water and sewer fees ($193,207), electric franchise fees ($145,000) special purpose local option sales tax ($138,000) motor vehicle title ad valorem tax ($100,000) and alcohol excise tax ($100,000). Major expenditures include administrative ($1,953,925) and capital outlay ($647,000).

Council will also hold a second reading of petitions of annexation into the city limits for property located at 324 and 372 Howser Mill Road.

Other items on the agenda include consideration of:

  • A contract for city inspector at a range of $40 to $55 per inspection;
  • A contract for Phase 1 Main Street Park. Staff recommends accepting the low bid of T.W. Phillips in the amount of $1,454,169.54;
  • A request by Pete Smith of SDC Gwinnett, LLC to continue to construct driveways in Rainhall with 1 foot 6 inch apron, although new requirements call for 3-foot apron. Smith states that the subdivision was 80 to 85 percent complete when the new requirement was approved; and
  • A request to issue a request for proposal for paving, patching and leveling of city streets.

 

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author

Eason defeats Grogan in special election 195-120

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Mayor Mike Eason, a 31-year special agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the state’s first inspector general, defeated former Mayor James Grogan 195-120 in a special election Tuesday.

Eason, 67, was appointed mayor last December after Dawsonville City Council removed Grogan for alleged violations of the city’s charter.

Eason said, “I appreciate everyone getting out to vote whether they voted for me or not. It means a lot to me knowing I have the support of the citizens. I plan to serve all the citizens, not just the ones who voted for me.”

Eason, who will take the oath of office April 9, said the city is working on a resolution to regulate the city’s speed limit. Another priority, he said, is working with the Downtown Development Authority on the comprehensive plan.

Grogan said he plans to call Eason to offer his congratulations and support.

The former mayor said he does not know what his future plans are right now. “It won’t be political,” Grogan said. He added that he was surprised by the outcome. “I got so much positive feedback from the citizens during the campaign, I was totally shocked,” he said.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

Author

Former Mayor Grogan upbeat despite court ruling

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Former Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan was surprisingly upbeat Wednesday despite the fact that Superior Court Judge C. Andrew Fuller ordered him to pay the city $25,060.88, the salary and benefits he received from the city while he appealed his impeachment.

Grogan said he was disappointed but not surprised by the judge’s ruling and he remained optimistic.

“We have an election coming up Tuesday that can make that go away,” he said.

Grogan is running to regain his seat as mayor in Tuesday’s special election against the man who replaced him, Mayor Mike Eason.

He was voted out of office last May by three city council members who allege he violated the city charter.

He said the reason for his optimism is the feedback he has received from the voters.

“I’ve gone door to door and I haven’t heard a single negative comment,” Grogan said. “I feel like the citizens will do the right thing and return me to office. They have heard all this stuff before, and they know I’ve tried to do the right thing and stay above the fray. I believe they are going to vote me back in office.”

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

Author

City council plans major change in future elections

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – With little or no public information or involvement, the Dawsonville City Council is prepared to make a major shift in how future city elections are conducted.

City council members — including two who were recently voted out of office – are expected to approve the change from an at-large system of electing city council members to a vote by district during Monday’s city council meeting.

According to the Georgia Municipal Association, only 19 percent of Georgia’s more than 500 cities choose their council members by district.

City Council did hold one public hearing on the issue at its work session recently. The second public hearing is set for Monday. However, there has been no town hall meeting or formal effort to gather public input on the issue, so it is unclear if Dawsonville citizens are even aware of the change that is about to take place.

Asked if such an important change should be decided by city residents in a referendum, Councilman Caleb Phillips said, “I don’t know if it should or shouldn’t. I haven’t talked to anybody who thought it was a bad idea. That’s the way our government works.”

Stephen Tolson

But former Dawson County Commission Chairman Mike Berg said, “When you change the way people elect their government without any input from the citizens, you have a kind of socialism.”

Two new city council members – Stephen Tolson and Mark French – will take the oath of office Monday. FetchYourNews asked both if the decision should be left up to voters to decide. Both chose not to answer.

Tolson said, “I appreciate your asking, but just to ensure a good relationship with the current city council members, I have promised them I would not comment on that.”

French said he would prefer to wait until after he took the oath of office to respond. He did say, however, “I have not been requested by anyone to remain silent regarding the proposed amendment. A request of that nature, in my opinion, is certainly not appropriate.”

Council will also vote on a resolution to reduce the mayor’s pay from $2,000 to $600 a month.

City Manager Bob Bolz explained that the mayor, who once served as mayor and city manager, has fewer responsibilities now that the city has a full-time manager.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

 

Author

FetchYourNews.com - Dedicated to serve the needs of the community. Provide a source of real news-Dependable Information-Central to the growth and success of our Communities. Strive to encourage, uplift, warn, entertain, & enlighten our readers/viewers- Honest-Reliable-Informative.

News - Videos - TV - Marketing - Website Design - Commercial Production - Consultation

Search

FetchYourNews.com - Citizen Journalists - A place to share “Your” work. Send us “Your” information or tips - 706.276.NEWs (6397) 706.889.9700 chief@FetchYourNews.com

Back to Top