significant ordinance changes were approved June 3 at a
special called meeting by the Stockbridge City Council, and
the mayor expressed his displeasure with the changes as well
as the process.
ordinance was amended with regard to which city positions
are considered department heads. Water, sewer and sanitation
positions no longer have that designation because they are
under the public works director, which is now considered a
department head along with the new administration/community
service position and Main Street director, which was created
last year under the previous administration.
Street director position was under the
administration/community service position on the new
organizational chart that was approved in March, according
to Mayor Tim Thompson, who said the sudden changes last week
were because the council did not like the personnel choices
being made by city manager Michael Harris for some of these
ordinance change affects Harris’ status directly. Under the
city’s charter, the city manager can be terminated by the
mayor and has the right to appeal that termination to the
council. Last week’s vote keeps that in place but now also
allows the council to terminate the city manager.
the June 3 measures passed with a unanimous 5-0 vote and
there was no public discussion.
said this week that going into the meeting, neither he,
Harris nor the city attorney “knew what we were walking
disturbs me most is that I campaigned on transparency and
doing things out in the open,” he said. “This was not
discussed in a public meeting.”
asked if the council, by changing certain positions to
department heads, gave itself the authority to hire and fire
those people directly, Thompson said, “Yes, that’s pretty
called the moves “political” and said the council was
“cherry-picking” which portions of the charter it wanted to
Immediately after the new organizational chart was approved
in March, job postings for new positions were publicized,
but Thompson said this special called meeting was convened
in haste after he and the council members received an e-mail
naming certain people who were being offered jobs. He did
not say who those people were.
an immediate red flag, indicating that they were probably
unhappy with the decision the city manager made, after they
gave the city manager the authority to make those
decisions,” said Thompson. “The timing is very interesting,
along with the fact that there was no public discussion.”
added that with respect to Harris, the council essentially
renegotiated his contract three months after bringing him on
brought in someone after 17 years with the county,
negotiated his contract, and now the council has the
authority to terminate him, with all of this stemming from
some hiring decisions he made,” he said.
stressed that he has stayed out of the hiring process for
rank-and-file city employees, concentrating only on those
that require mayoral and council approval. He said the city
manager was to make those other decisions based on who was
best qualified to work for the city.
forward, at what point do we as a council not get involved
in the day-to-day operations?” he asked. “The way our
government is structured, we shouldn’t be involved like that
and we definitely shouldn’t let politics get involved in
Thompson read a statement
at the June 9 regular council meeting, saying he had
objections to the new ordinances and even considered vetoing
them but would not do so because he preferred to “offer a
positive path forward for the city.” The council can
override a mayoral veto with a 5-0 vote.