In the fall 2014, the City of Forsyth Mayor and Council decided that revisions needed to be made to the city Charter in hopes of improving the efficiency of city government. The City of Forsyth requested assistance from the Middle Georgia Regional Commission to develop a draft of the proposed Charter. A work session for initial input was held by City Council in September 2014, followed by the Regional Commission developing a first draft. Over the ensuing months, additional City Council work sessions were held and revisions were made to the draft proposed Charter. Below is a summary of policy changes that have been proposed to the City Charter as of the final draft dated February 02, 2015.
Section 1.13 – Modified to add that the city is allowed to regulate adult entertainment establishments in addition to adult bookstores.
Section 2.11 – Term limit for the Mayor is removed to be the consistent with Council Members.
Section 2.12 – Maximum length of an appointment to fill a Council vacancy extended from two months to twelve months.
Section 2.22 – The current Charter does not contain a definition of an ordinance. The proposed Charter clearly defines ordinance specifically making it different than a resolution.
Section 2.28 – Changes the designated Chief Executive Officer from the Mayor to the City Manager.
Section 2.29 – Specifically states that the Mayor is the Chief Elected Official. Duties of supervising executive work, preparing an annual operating budget, and coordinating administrative activities are removed from Mayor’s duties. The Mayor retains the authority to disapprove or remove budget line items. Added to Mayor’s enumerated duties are being the official spokesperson of the city as well as being the chief advocate for policy.
Sections 2.32-2.36 – New sections creating the position of City Manager. Manager may be hired and fired at-will by the Mayor and Council. City Manager duties include hiring and firing of all city employees, supervise administration of all departments, prepare an annual operating budget, see that all laws are properly executed, attend all Council meetings, and make reports to Council as concerning municipal operations. The Mayor and City Council should address administrative issues through the City Manager, rather than directly to other employees of the city.
Section 3.10 – Clarifies that Department Heads & City Clerk all report to City Manager, but that Mayor and Council are still responsible for determining the structure or organization of city government.
Section 3.13 –Establishes that the Custodian of Records will be designated at the organizational meeting. The Custodian of Records may or may not be the City Clerk.
Section 3.14 – City Manager shall set a pay plan for city employees, subject to the approval of Mayor and Council.
Section 5.11 – Each position on the City Council is designated as a post, and each post will be a separate race from every other post. As a result, during qualification, candidates will declare the post for which they are running. This differs from how members of council previously ran in one race with the top three vote-getters each earning a seat.
Section 5.13 – A simple majority is required to elect each Council Member. If, in a race of more than two candidates, no person receives a majority, a runoff election will be required.
Section 5.16 – Procedures for removing a city official from office are defined. Previously, city officials could be removed but no due process was defined. Now, the Superior Court of Monroe County may order such removal, following a hearing, or an impartial panel may render a ruling, subject to appeal to the Superior Court.
You can view/download a copy of the new charter below: