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Should Mayor and City Council Members Get Paid Per Meeting?

Responding to an article in the Douglas County Sentinel, the Douglasville Mayor and City Council are taking a new look at how other local cities compensate their elected officials.

Responding to an article in the Douglas County Sentinel, the are taking a new look at how other local cities compensate their elected officials.

Currently the Mayor gets paid $313 per meeting and each City Council member gets paid $125 each, according to City Clerk Joyce Stone. The Mayor is also allowed $400 a month for expenses and each City Council member and the City Attorney are allowed $150 a month.

In the Sentinel article, the newspaper pointed out that a former mayor and current city council members may have been improperly paid for meetings not covered under statute criteria.

In question are meetings that were held via teleconference and by electronic means because the ordinance states that the elected official must attend in person.

"Former Mayor Mickey Thompson had several meetings for which he was paid..that on the surface appear to not be allowable for compensation," the article reads.

"Council members with the most payments from submissions that do not appear to fit the statute criteria are Sam Davis and LaShun Burr Danley," the article said.

A subsequent Sentinel article points out that, "Douglasville is all alone in using a per-meetings system to calculate compensation."

The newspaper reported that "a survey conducted by the Douglas County Sentinel, using open record requests, showed that cities of comparable population in the extended metro area all pay elected officials a salary, with checks being issued monthly."

"Quite a bit of discussion has been had internally with the council regarding meetings, pay and compensation," Mayor Harvey Persons said at Monday night's City Council meeting. "There's been some comments in the community and a recent newspaper article about it. In light of this, I chose to issue a press release to the Sentinel Friday, June 15."

In the press release, not sent to Dougasville Patch, Persons apparently said he directed City Manager Bill Osborne to take a look at other cities and see how they compensate council members and the mayor. Persons said the report from Osborne is due in August and the City Council will make a decision at that time about what it is going to do.

(Editor's note: Upon our request, the press release was sent and is attached to this article.)

Tell us in the poll following this article. How should the City Council and Mayor be paid? If you have other suggestions, please share in the comments!

Bob Sagoes June 21, 2012 at 01:00 PM
They should have a job to go to. They are the ones that wanted to be there in the first place. That is the way it was set up go do things for the people then go to your own job. If that is not good enough, then don't run for office. Just MHO..
Helen Chambers June 21, 2012 at 02:04 PM
These positions carry a very heavy responsibility for all citizens, even those who aren't directly in the city limits. The actions of elected officials sets the image of what to expect when moving into our county. This said, the Mayor's position is not a part time job as many believe. There should be a set salary with expenses for state held meetings and the Council paid per meeting.
Janice Goad June 21, 2012 at 02:17 PM
I agree. If they're paid a salary they might not go to ANY meetings! What, you don't think anybody would do that? Please! The Mayor's absence might be fairly noticeable, but I suspect a salary would make it a LOT easier for members to call in their attendance. There was a time when I believed people ran for office because they CARED or because they felt they could make a difference, but no more.
Richard R June 21, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Since the Council is not a full time job, I would think that the best method of payment would be a combination of salary and per meeting compensation. A small base salary would compensate the council members for all the calls from their constituents, in office work, and outside research. Meetings should be compensated for on two levels. One for in-person meetings and one for tele-conferences. Since one requires travel time for the individual, those meetings should be compensated for at the rate that they are now being paid. For teleconferences, they should be paid at 1/3 the rate. This way, business would be accomplished quickly and in the financial best interest of the citizens. Now - as the job responsibility of the Major grows, as the City grows, that position should be paid a salary commensurate with the time requirements of the job, and should not be compensated for meetings. Since this would be inherent with the responsiblities. Although the City Manager runs the day to day operation, it is the Major, with the support of the Council, who sets policies and insures that they are being upheld by the city's employees. The hard part of all of this is setting the financial compensation at a fair level, since these are servants of the citizens, and each citizen has a different view on how things are to be run.
Triphenya Bailey June 24, 2012 at 12:03 PM
I would like to see the press release that was issued. I'm having trouble finding the attachment. Any tips for accessing Mayor Persons' press release?
Donna Crisp September 26, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Exactly. My Thoughts also.
Tico Tico September 30, 2012 at 02:45 PM
The mayor and counsel members do not stop working when they are not at a meeting or on the phone. They should be compensated as any other elected 'employee' is compensated. Then there will be no need to create meetings simply to increase their income!
cindy pocali October 09, 2012 at 05:01 PM
I agree with Richard R's compensation amount depending on the type of meeting. It is very difficult to account for the time the elected officials spend on phone calls from constituents, but whether the meeting is in person or by phone, the only reason the Mayor or Council member is participating is because of their elected positions. These should be compensated regardless of how they're attended. I do not think there is any cause for concern, Tico Tico, about "creat(ing) meetings simply to increase their income". Most, if not all of the elected officials DO have other jobs and are not looking to spend more time than necessary in the small conference room together. I find it regrettable that Mayor Thompson and any Council members put in for compensation not allowable under the rules, instead of just changing the rules to include the various meetings attended solely as a Douglasville elected official. Mayor Thompson brought Douglasville from an unknown community to a large, Atlanta metro area, suburb. I wish that he would publish a list of all his accomplishments while in office to put things back into perspective.

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