With Roger Watson resigning from the Danielsville City Council, the remaining three members must act in unison if they want to get anything done — that’s not a hope for harmony, but a legal fact.
City attorney Victor Johnson told council members Monday that the city code requires at least three “yes” votes from the council before action can be taken on any matter.
“It takes three council members to take any action, whether by ordinance, resolution or motion,” Johnson told the council, noting that the three-vote requirement was included in the city charter, which was renewed in 1999.
Johnson said the requirement has hampered the council at times, leaving the group unable to take action when there is either a vacancy at the table or an absence for medical reasons.
“If you’ve only got two council members (at the table), you can’t do anything,” said Johnson. “I suggest removing the requirements of three votes for a motion.”
The attorney noted that if there are only three council members and the group votes to do something by a 2-1 vote, then the action fails, since it didn’t have the required three “yes” votes.
Danielsville is supposed to have a four-person council, with the mayor voting to break 2-2 ties.
Johnson said the three-vote requirement make sense on votes on ordinances, which are rarely changed.
“But, for instance, if you had to make a payment on a line of credit, and you’ve only got two council members present, then you can’t authorize it,” he said.
Johnson urged the council to consider submitting a proposed change in the city charter to the Georgia General Assembly at least by next month’s meeting.
Council member Barbara Dove has announced that she plans to resign from council, along with Watson. However, if she did that now, the Danielsville council would have only two members, Janice Merk and Junne Temple. But Dove said she will stay with the group until a special election is held March 17 to fill Watson’s seat.
“This (the three-vote issue) was brought up one time before,” said Dove, noting that she and Watson voted for Johnson’s proposed change back in January 2008, but another council member blocked the measure.
Dove said she doesn’t support the change now.
“I know you already got somebody thinking who they’re going to put in here to replace me,” said Dove. “So, I’m not going to vote for that. If you want to put it on the agenda, you can, but I’m not going to vote for it. … But I am staying for the reason there’ll be three here. So if something comes up where the city needs something, I will be here.”
In other matters, the investigation continues into how much money former Danielsville City Clerk Michelle Dills allegedly took from the city. She was arrested in October on a felony theft charge for allegedly stealing $56,000 in city funds in 2006, but the total dollar figure is expected to be more than that, once the review of financial records from other years is completed. The council approved overtime pay Monday for employees who are going through city financial records and making copies for investigators. City clerk Connie Riley told the council that she doesn’t anticipate overtime related to the investigation being necessary after January.
The council agreed to cover part of the cost of a sewer line extension about 300 feet down Hwy. 29 from Graham Law Firm to the Madison Animal Hospital. The council agreed to pay approximately $2,600 so the new line will be an eight-inch, rather than six-inch pipe. That line may eventually be extended to the Golden Pantry.
The council also approved Temple as mayor pro tem Monday.