The Newnan Times-Herald


Grantville revisits charter to allow council to appoint, fire city attorney

  • By Kandice Bell
  • |
  • Mar. 19, 2019 - 4:35 PM

The Grantville City Council  initially voted to move forward with amending Grantville City to allow the council to appoint and dismiss the city attorney, but one of the councilmembers has had a change of heart.

In January, the council voted to amend Grantville City Code Section 3.05.

Councilman Mark King and Councilwoman Ruby Hines were for the proposal, which called for an affirmative vote from four council members for the dismissal of the city attorney.

Councilman Alan Wacaser and Councilman Jim Sells were not in favor of the proposal.

Earlier in January, Wacaser said the city’s charter needed to be revised. Wacaser said he felt the council should make the decision about the city attorney to avoid a conflict of interest.

The charter currently empowers the mayor to appoint the city attorney without input from the council. Wacaser said there are reasons the council should make that appointment.

“We have a very good example recently,” Wacaser said at the January meeting, referring the cemetery retaining wall controversy.

Wacaser said he researched other municipalities’ charters for hiring and firing the city attorney, such as Newnan, Franklin, Hogansville and Helen. He said the council had the authority to appoint and dismiss the city attorney in those cities.

Mayor Doug Jewell noted Mark Mitchell, Grantville’s current city attorney, has held that post since before Jewell took office.

Hines said she did not understand why the topic was brought up for discussion at the council’s last meeting.

“Why are we readdressing what we already voted on,” Hines said.

“Someone changed their mind,” Sells said. King said his earlier decision was made in error.

“Majority vote should be efficient,” King said. “It’s difficult to get four minds to agree up here. Three votes is all that should be required.”

Wacaser said he wanted to make sure Grantville was run like other cities in Georgia.

“This is not about firing the current attorney, but  about amending the charter,” Wacaser said.

At a previous council meeting, Jewell said this is not the first attempt to the change the charter. He said the charter was changed to have the council hire and fire the attorney in 2012 and then changed back – giving the mayor that authority – in 2014.