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Let's Talk: Canton Council's Compensation, Terms

The mayor and councilmen in Canton are considering altering their compensation to make running for elected office more enticing to younger people and adopting term limits. Do you agree with their proposals?

City Attorney Robert Dyer has been tasked with developing wording to forward to the state legislature to impose term limits on all elected officials starting in 2014.

The proposal, brought forth by Councilman Bob Rush, would in all likelihood not be retroactive, due to the possibility of ex-post-facto conflicts with current council members. Rush's proposal includes two sequential terms in any elected position, followed by the possibility for immediate candidacy and election to another position. (e.g. John Doe can run for councilman, get re-elected, then run for mayor when his term expires).

The proposal to set term limits was accompanied by another proposal to phase out the city's pension plan for the same elected officials while raising salaries to make running for office a more enticing option for young people.

Currently, elected officials in other Cherokee municipalities make almost five times as much as Canton's. The proposed compensation increase will make the salary for a councilman $8,000 a year and for the mayor $10,000 a year. 

Do these proposals sit well with you? Tell us in the comments!

However, the phasing out of the pension plan will actually save the city around $20,000 a year, when the salary increases are factored in.

Although all council members agreed that the pension plan was in need of termination, Mayor Gene Hobgood led a chorus of council members who were uncomfortable with raising their own salaries in times of economic frugality.

Hobgood hoped to have the proposals to eliminate the pension plan and to raise elected officials' yearly salaries decoupled, but was unsuccessful in this attempt.

Current office holders will be given the option to either retain their pension and forego the salary increase or accept the salary increase and end the pension once the changes take effect in 2014.

Change For Canton November 16, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Yes, let's talk about this...In the same agenda you want to cut staff because we need to save money...then you want to give yourselves raises.....and remodel council chambers....while purchasing 30k in Christmas decor.....and 50k+ on a projector for the theater....Where are the priorities folks??? Not on the City! But all personal gain...I'm sure Mr. Goodwin needs the raise!
Bill Bryan November 21, 2012 at 02:04 PM
yet you are in favor of the mayor blowing more than $320,000 of the taxpayer's money on an unnecessary "staff" position for his own benefit aren't you?
Change For Canton November 21, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Where are you getting that figure Mr. Bryan? Also, you were cutting a position to "redistribute the wealth"..Taking from one job to give the council raises. We all know the reasons..they council is actually very transparent.
Bill Bryan November 21, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Question #1: The annual cost to the city for the position is betwween 64 & 65k. That figure came from Nathan Ingran, City of Canton CFO. The position has been filled for 5 years. $64,000 spent each year for 5 years is $320,000. Question #2: Yes my proposal would be to put the $64,000 annual savings to better use. One possibility would be to hire two additional firefighters. That sum would almost cover the cost of two new Firefighters. The savings would be multiplied if two older Firefighters chose to retire since their annual cost would be much higher than the younger ones, therefore the net would result would be to more than cover two new Firefighters. Another possibility would be to use the $64,000 savings to add to the Main Street budget or for other economic development. Likely the savings would be used for a combination of these or other better uses. Regarding the Council raises, you neglected to mention the savings the taxpayers will realize when the Council eliminates it's pensions. The net savings to the Taxpayers with the current raise/pension proposal will net an annual savings of $20,000. Thank you for the compliment. Our goal and desire IS to be transparent. Please feel free to ask any other pertinenet questions. Additionally I will be glad to meet with you at a time and place convenient for you for further discussion or to share any relevant factual information I have. It is an honor to be a good steward of your money.
Bill Bryan November 21, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Oh by the way "Change for Canton" you did not answer my question. I would appreciate the courtesy.
Bill Bryan November 25, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Sandy I've given you a thoughtful, respectful, fact based answer. I've asked you one simple, straightforward question.
Change For Canton November 26, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Mr. Bryan..I am not sure who "Sandy" is but, your answer is severely flawed. I can add anything together over any period of time and come up with an exorbitant amount...like you did. Also, again...you are simply redistributing the money and NOT saving the tax payers a dime. The councils continuation in this path will have major negative consequences for the City. You should all be working together, yes, including working with Mr. Cummings..(he has the only true business since on the council and is the ONLY clear fiscal conservative). As to answer your question, yes the mayor should have staff and the ability to manage his staff. The Charter committee deemed this set up to be the best for the city. Also, the committee was made up of your constitutes who put you in this position and you had better start listening to them. Not letting a prominent volunteer and valued public servant speak at a council meeting is appalling. What was the agreement with the mayor about the fire-district? and what would you drop? Dirty politics....is what our council is practicing. All meetings should be on record. Good day!

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