After unaniously approving a salary payment system for themselves at Monday night's City Council meeting, now the Mayor and Council have to figure out how to legally go about implementing it and moving away from their current pay-by-meeting method.
The April 2012 Douglas County Grand Jury report agreed that the current Douglasville Mayor and City Council should carefully scrutinize their pay system.
"With the recent indictment of former Mayor Mickey Thompson, the current pay system is obviously subject to abuse," reads the report, filed with County Clerk Rhonda Payne at about noon on Friday.
"Also, we highly recommend that the current pay system be abolished and replaced with a pay system that is reflective of every other city in the State of Georgia," reads the report.
"Now we have to figure out how we do that, legally," Mayor Pro Tem Larry Yockey said. "We can't end up giving ourselves a pay raise in the process. The grand jury said we should move to salary positions as our terms expire but my concern is that we can't wait that long with this whole mess going on."
Yockey said the City of Douglasville Attorney Joel Dodson and Chief Assistant City Attorney Suzan Littlefield are looking into the matter but haven't found a city with a similar situation of moving from a pay-by-meeting method to a salary system.
"Furthermore, the April 2012 Grand Jury calls for any City Council person who received payment for any meeting identified by the GBI as being unauthorized to immediately return all money with no regard to whether or not criminal charges are forthcoming," reads the report.
It is unclear who would enforce the return of the money or how that process would be monitored.
In a Douglasville Patch poll on June 20, 78 percent of respondents agreed that the Council should be paid monthly or annually.
"We'd like to get on the salary system as soon as possible but we're breaking new ground here," Yockey said. "It's a tricky situation. Now that the grand jury has spoken, do we do what they said and limp along with the pay-per-meeting process and then a handful of us will change to salary as we begin our next term. That would mean two different processes in getting paid."
Here are related Douglasville Patch articles:
Former Mayor Mickey Thompson Among 78 Indicted by Grand Jury Today
Should Mayor and City Council Members Get Paid Per Meeting?