At least two City Council members said they are reviewing whether Douglasville Mayor Mickey Thompson should have voted during a City Council meeting Jan. 13.
Up for a vote was the matter of selecting a mayor pro tempore. Four council members voted for Terry Miller. Three voted for John Schildroth, who served as the mayor pro tem in 2010.
After hearing the 4-3 vote in favor of Miller, Thompson cast a vote for Schildroth and declared Schildroth the mayor pro tem.
“I guess we were very surprised,” said council member Larry Yockey, who voted for Miller. “It was a surprise to all of us that the mayor could vote. We still don’t know if he can at this point. We’re doing a little research to see if he can vote. We’re trying to get an understanding right now of the charter and the way it works.”
Council members Dennis McLain and Roy E. Mims voted for Schildroth. Council members LaShun Burr Danley, Samuel Davis and Yockey cast votes for Miller.
Section 2.32 of the current law establishing the charter for the city of Douglasville defines the mayor's powers, including the power to vote for appointed city officials "even though the vote of the mayor may result in a tie vote":
Powers and duties of mayor. As the chief executive of this city, the mayor shall: (9) Vote upon matters of the city council in the following circumstances:
(A) Upon the event of a tie vote of the city council upon any ordinance, resolution, question or matter.
(B) In elections by the mayor and city council of all appointed officers of the city and upon the elections of the members of boards, commissions, and authorities of the city, unless otherwise prohibited by law, even though the vote of the mayor may result in a tie vote and the failure to elect any appointed official or member. Where the mayor’s vote in the election of an appointed official or member causes a tie vote and results in the failure to elect any person to such office, the mayor shall have the power to appoint any competent person to fill such office until such time as the mayor and city council shall by majority vote elect a person to fill such office.
Section 2.34 reads: "Mayor pro tempore; selection; duties. By a majority vote, the city council shall elect a councilmember to serve as mayor pro tempore. The mayor pro tempore shall preside at all meetings of the city council and shall assume the duties and the powers of the mayor upon the mayor's physical or mental disability or absence. The councilmembers by a majority vote shall elect a new presiding officer from among its members for any period in which the mayor pro tempore is disabled, absent, or acting as mayor. Any such absence or disability shall be declared by a majority vote of all councilmembers."
“Our interpretation is that the mayor is not supposed to vote unless there’s a tie,” said Miller, who voted for himself. “He can vote to break a tie, not form one.
“The mayor pro tem is supposed to answer to the council. (The mayor pro tem) is supposed to represent the will and spirit of the current City Council, not the mayor. We’re getting outside sources to review the propriety of the vote.”
"The city charter is clear on the powers and authorities of the mayor," Thompson said. "Over the years, if you look back at past situations, that vote was consistent with other actions that I've taken over the last 11 years."
“I guess I was very disappointed in the outcome,” Yockey said. “I feel the mayor pro tem is somebody the City Council wants to represent the City Council in the mayor’s absence. That’s been taken away from us.”
He added: “We’re looking at what should be the next step to correct the situation.”
Asked whether the mayor's vote was proper, council member Roy E. Mims said: "I don't know. I have no idea. I really can't comment on it. That would be up to the city attorney to render anything that they had on that."
“There’s a clique within our City Council,” Miller said. The clique "does everything in its power to control the agenda and get its way. It’s all about the power and control.”