Danielsville leaders met behind closed doors for 30 minutes Thursday evening to discuss appointment of a mayor pro tem.
The city council re-opened the closed meeting and unanimously voted to keep Junne Temple as the mayor-pro-tem, with Temple abstaining.
Temple called for the closed session when the council reached the pro tem item on the agenda, citing “personnel” as the reason for the closed-door meeting.
Questioned after the meeting about the legality of meeting in private to discuss an appointment among elected leaders, new city attorney Dale Perry said state law allowed for exclusion of the public, noting that the group can discuss evaluation of a “public officer or employee.”
“The mayor pro tem is a public officer,” said Perry. “That’s why I felt it was appropriate.”
Georgia Press Association attorney David Hudson said “It is difficult to argue that the pro tem is not a ‘public officer.’’”
However he said the law also states that “a meeting cannot be closed to discuss filling a vacancy in the membership of the agency.”
“Appointing a pro tem could be argued to fall within that provision although that has not been decided by a court,” said Hudson.
In other matters Thursday, the city council approved its $1.27 million 2011 budget, which includes the elimination of employee holiday bonuses, as well as dental insurance and some training expenses.
The council also approved qualifying fees for the mayor’s post and council seats one and two, which will be up for election this year. Qualifying fees are $82.19 for the mayor’s seat and $59.23 for the council seats.
The group discussed the cost of maintaining the city cemetery. Perry told the council that there is not enough money in reserves to run a perpetual care cemetery. Perry noted that his mother is buried in the cemetery. He said there are plenty of people with loved ones in the cemetery who would be willing to make suggestions about improvements and maintenance, while also making donations.
“I think you’d be surprised by the response if you said you’d like to hear from the people who have family there,” said Perry.
In another matter, Mayor Philip Croya said sheriff Kip Thomas has offered to donate a seized Ford F-150 four-wheel drive vehicle, which needs heater core work. Perry said the council may need to get a resolution from the county commissioners before they can legally accept the donation from the sheriff.