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Does Canton's Mayor Need A Staff?

Cities around Canton don't have mayoral staffs. Why should we?

Over the past three months I have interviewed various staff and officials from neighboring cities, from our county, and from the Georgia Municipal Association’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government to determine how local governments handle their elected official’s administrative support.

I have learned that local government is structured very differently from State and Federal Government. Local government does not have separate Executive and Legislative Branches. Local Government, meaning cities and counties, consists of a single Governing Body. A handful of exceptions include extremely large or extremely small cities but the overwhelming majority of cities and counties consist of a single Governing Body. Canton is no exception. Canton’s Governing Body consists of a Mayor and 6 Council Members.

Below are the results of my research. Just like Canton, all 12 of these Local Governments consist of a single Governing Body. The elected official’s titles vary such as Mayor, Chairman, Council Member, Commissioner, or Alderman but the basic structure is the same; a single Governing Body.

In all cases shown here the elected officials are part-time. The smallest city that I could find where a part-time elected official has full-time staff was Marietta (pop. 58,000). In addition to having almost 2-1/2 times the population of Canton, Marietta has it’s own school system and power company. Marietta has 720 employees compared to Canton’s 115.

The other two cities researched where the part-time elected officials have full time staff were Johns Creek and Roswell. As you can see these two cities are even bigger than Marietta and exceed Canton’s size several times over.

No cities in Canton’s size range employ any Mayor’s staff; absolutely none except Canton. The fact is that this is simply an unnecessary luxury. The almost $65,000 that Canton spends every year for this position can be put to much better use elsewhere.

 

City of Woodstock

Donnie Henriques, Mayor

NO MAYOR’S STAFF

Population: 23,000

Mayor, 6 Council Members, City Manager

City Clerk and City Manager’s assistant is administrative support to all elected officials

 

City of Acworth

Tommy Allegood, Mayor

NO MAYOR’S STAFF

Population: 22,000

Mayor, 5 Aldermen, City Manager

City Clerk is administrative support to all elected officials.

 

City of Cartersville

Matt Santini, Mayor

NO MAYOR’S STAFF

Population: 20,000

Mayor, 6 Council Members, City Manager

City Clerk and City Manager’s assistant assists all elected officials  

 

City of Milton

Joe Lockwood, Mayor

NO MAYOR’S STAFF

Population: 33,000

Mayor, 6 Council Members, City Manager

City Clerk and City Manager’s assistant assists all elected officials

 

City of Kennesaw

Mark Matthews, Mayor

NO MAYOR’S STAFF

Population: 30,000

Mayor, 5 Council Members, City Manager

Assistant City Clerk and City Manager’s secretary assists all elected officials as needed

 

City of Holly Springs

Tim Downing, Mayor

NO MAYOR’S STAFF

Population: 9,200

Mayor, 6 Council Members, City Manager

City Clerk and City Manager’s assistant assists all elected officials  

 

City of Alpharetta

David Belle Isle, Mayor

NO MAYOR’S STAFF

Population: 58,000

Mayor, 6 Council Members, City Administrator (Manager)

City Clerk and City Administrator’s assistant assists all elected officials

 

City of Sandy Springs

Eva Galambos, Mayor

NO MAYOR’S STAFF

Population: 95,000

Mayor, 6 Council Members, City Manager

The City Manager’s Administrative Assistant assists all elected officials as needed.

 

Cherokee County

Buzz Ahrens, Chairman

NO CHAIRMAN’S STAFF

Population 220,000

Commission Chairman, 4 Commissioners, County Manager

The County Manager’s assistant assists all elected officials as needed

 

City of Marietta

Steve “Thunder” Tumlin, Mayor

STAFF – 1 ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SHARED BY ALL ELECTED OFFICIALS

Population: 57,000

Mayor, 7 Council Members, City Manager

720 employees

City School System & City Power Company

 

City of Roswell

Jere Wood, Mayor

STAFF – 1 ASSISTANT TO MAYOR & 1 ASSISTANT TO ALL COUNCIL MEMBERS

Population: 90,000

Mayor, 6 Council Members, City Administrator (Manager)

600+ employees including 2 full time attorneys, 2 full time legal assistants

 

City of Johns Creek  (from website)

Mike Bodker, Mayor

STAFF – 1 EXECUTIVE AIDE

Population:  77,000

Mayor, 6 Council Members

240 employees.  The city outsources everything except Public Safety and Finance.

Median Family Income: $150,592

It is Interesting to note that Johns Creek's Charter was created by the same “consultant” that was involved in bringing “Mayor’s Staff” to Canton’s Charter.

In conclusion, there are two ways to correct this problem. Option #1 is to simply eliminate funding of this position from the budget. This is the easy way out and is only a temporary band-aid that will have to be revisited every year. It can also be easliy slipped back into the next budget without proper public scrutiny. Option #2 is to change the Charter. This is a more difficult, deliberative and ardurous process but it is clearly the responsible thing to do. The City Council began this process last month with the First Reading and Public Discussion. The Second Reading and Public Discussion was last week. The Third Reading and Public Discussion will take place on December 20th. The law only requires two readings but we are doing three.

The Mayor will then have the opportunity to veto the City Council's decision. If he vetoes, there will be a Fourth Reading and Public Discussion. The council will then have the opportunity to override the Mayor's veto.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Username December 18, 2012 at 07:28 PM
I grew up in Canton and recently moved back so I attended the City Council meeting. Frankly I was shocked at how unorganized this meeting was, and how much self promotion was dribbling out of the councilmen's mouths. For many years the towns makeup was mostly law offices, and small retail shops. It has not ever really been a city that offered much, and everyone shopped at the mall. We need to hire a city planner that can make better use of our infrastructure to provide VISION and an experience that anyone can enjoy. We need better parking, and design standards for new and existing buildings. We need walkable paths so that we can connect the downtown loop with our green space near the Etowah river. This area could be used for concerts, and events. And what is it with the old retail buildings that border the Etowah river. Has anyone even dared to buy something there? This is a prime location for art galleries, music instrument stores, collectibles, cafes, and eateries. There is a lot that can be done to put Canton on the map, but the councilmen seem to be more interested in lining their own pockets and personal agendas.
Change For Canton December 18, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Wow...go over and read this one! I am not sure who Jay is but he is right on. Mr. Bryan..what do you think? http://canton-ga.patch.com/blog_posts/back-to-elementary-school-for-many-canton-city-councilmen
Bill Bryan January 10, 2013 at 12:17 PM
Jay's mindless rantings, deviod of facts, will come back to haunt him. He should be writing for the National Enquirer. His pen name could be "Gene's Boy".
Change For Canton January 10, 2013 at 07:45 PM
Oh my....well to me (and many others), Jay's articles seem to be well articulated and fact filled...much like his new one: http://canton-ga.patch.com/blog_posts/opinion-some-canton-citizens-want-three-councilmen-to-resign
Etowahwah January 10, 2013 at 10:18 PM
Pardon me, but is Bill Bryan actually complaining about "mindless rantings"? We've had to put up with his for quite some time now, and as proven, "facts" are not his strong point either! I applaud Mr. Saro and remind him of a saying I once heard: "The only people who are mad at you for speaking the TRUTH are those people who are living a LIE."

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