City of South Fulton council pushes back on changes to firing ability

South Fulton Mayor Bill Edwards leads the city wher emembers of council have pushed back against proposed legislation that would change their charter. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

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South Fulton Mayor Bill Edwards leads the city wher emembers of council have pushed back against proposed legislation that would change their charter. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Council members in the new city of South Fulton are pushing back against proposed legislation that would eliminate their ability to remove department heads during the transition period and approve the selections of the new city manager.

The legislation, HB 1063, has passed the House after being introduced last week. It calls for changes to the South Fulton charter and was sponsored by representatives for the area. Since South Fulton was formed last May, council members have vetoed some selections, like a proposed police chief. Other department directors — some interim — have already left the city.

In a resolution passed Monday, South Fulton council members said the proposal “unjustly strips” them of their personnel powers, “substantially limiting its ability to weigh in and vote on critical agency decisions.” Other Fulton County cities maintain more council control in their charters, the resolution said.

The resolution also says the proposal was introduced impulsively in the final days of the legislative session, and jeopardizes the city’s ability to oversee its vision. It calls on members of the legislature to vote against its adoption.

Rep. Roger Bruce, D-South Fulton, who sponsored the legislation, said the mayor and council were never intended to be involved in the city’s day-to-day operations. If passed, the legislation would simply move up the date they became hands-off, from November to whenever the governor signs it.

Because there is a city manager, “they should not be involved any more,” Bruce said. “That is not the form of government we have.”

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