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Snellville council attempting to rescind mayor's appointment powers

SNELLVILLE — The Snellville City Council voted Monday to begin looking into the process of retracting the mayor’s ability to appoint and nominate candidates for various positions in the government.

The council voted 4-2 to begin the process of amending the city charter. Though the action voted on Monday made no formal charges, it set the stage for possible future changes that would prohibit Mayor Kelly Kautz from making nominations for positions like city attorney, city manager, city clerk and various boards.

Among other potential changes to the charter, Monday’s resolution would add the words “or council member” to sections previously giving the mayor sole nomination and appointment powers.

Kautz and ally Councilman Mike Sabbagh voted against the move.

“I believe this is only going to intensify the conflict in our city,” Kautz said. “I have tried to compromise on many things, on many nominations, as you’ve seen here tonight ... The charter is something that I have to stand strong on, and that I have to protect not just for the current mayor but for the future mayors of Snellville.”

Sabbagh expressed disappointment that the proposal, made by Councilwoman Diane Krause, wasn’t obtained by the rest of the council until around lunchtime Monday.

Councilman Dave Emanuel said Snellville’s current charter and mayoral appointment capabilities are “out of step with at least six other cities in Gwinnett County.”

“I don’t see it as taking away power from the mayor, I see it as taking an out-of-date charter and bringing it up to date ... I think frankly it will make the council work better together,” Emanuel said. “This isn’t about power, this is about moving forward, this is about overcoming hurdles.”

“If every other city in Gwinnett County can operate in this manner, we certainly can as well.”

Krause said Emanuel’s comments “pretty much exactly” echoed her thoughts on the charter change.

Key in the argument about the charter amendment is the role of the state legislature. Kautz said City Attorney Tony Powell has advised in the past that the change in the charter was something that couldn’t be done without the state.

“The majority of this council did ask the General Assembly to look at our charter and to make changes that took away the nomination power from the mayor,” Kautz said, “and our general assembly did decline to make those changes. I don’t know anything that has changed in the past few months that would make this something that needs to be done now.”

That statement, Mayor Pro Tem Tom Witts said in an email Tuesday, is not accurate.

“In order for those changes to be brought before the legislature there would have to be a resolution passed at a public meeting requesting the Georgia legislature to address the changes,” Witts wrote. “No such resolution has ever been discussed by the council, let alone passed.”

Witts said a resolution to change the charter was passed in February, but “we never formulated the changes that we wanted,” and those changes were never presented to the legislature.

Appointments and nominations have not been easy since Kautz took office, and Monday was no different.

Two items on Monday’s budget included slates of three mayor’s nominations apiece for the city’s board of appeals and planning commission. After Witts initiated the move to split up both slates — which were originally proposed as single nominations for each group — voting was held.

On the board of appeals, David Brown (Post 1) and Dennis Lawton (Post 2) were confirmed. Kautz’s nomination of Hank Reid to Post 4 was allowed to die by the council.

On the planning commission, Joe Williams (Post 2) and Ida Graham (Post 3) were successfully nominated. The nomination of Dexter Harrison for Post 4 was voted down.

Comments

R 2 years, 3 months ago

Oh please grant me the popcorn franchise at city hall, there's some real revenue opportunities being overlooked.

This is better than SyFy programing...

And if we sold Kush Balls for spectators to toss, the limit really is endless.

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Karl 2 years, 3 months ago

See what the Democrats brought in as your mayor? You voters need to do your homework before electing someone that you haven't researched.

Kautz is, and was, strongly supported by the Democratic machine in Georgia. Of course, she didn't tout the fact she is a Dem, and even refused to answer the question directly during the campaign. After her election, the Chairman of the Democratic party of Georgia (and Kautz' past boss), Mike Berlon, sent out a notice declaring a Democratic win in Snellville for the mayor's seat.

Wish you had a do-over now, don't you. Just don't let it happen a second time.

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ssilover1 2 years, 3 months ago

It doesn't matter the party. Snellville has something in the water that breeds craziness.

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rocknroll 2 years, 3 months ago

I am disappointed in the writer of this story. the headline is a really poor way to beg for readers and is flat out wrong. If the writer read his own story he would see that. From what I can see what the one councilman said is right on. Snellville needs to get its charter up to date and be like the other cities in our county and I bet in the whole rest of the state. If I remember right the person who is mayor now wanted to make the exact same changes when she was a council person. She thought they were good then, but now that she's mayor they're no good. What a hypocrite.

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BornandraisedinSnellville 2 years, 3 months ago

This is such a tired argument, what we have in Snellville is a Democratic Mayor constantly being undermined by the Republicans in her council (Witts, Emanuel, Krause and Howard).

Witts and his croonies will work tirelessly to take as much power away from Kautz as possible, while in office. Make no mistake, that is their mission, not the improvement of the city. They don't want a Democrat running the city, obviously. They still cannot get over the fact that she won the election over their Republican buddy.

Ironically, Kautz was born and raised in Snellville, unlike the other four, and has the city's best interest at heart. Tom Witts has only lived here since 92, is behind in paying his state taxes, and has had ethics complaints files against him numerous times. He and Diane Krause are church buddies, so of course they are gonna team up on Mayor Kautz. Dave Emanuel and Bobby Howard, also Republicans, are naturally gonna side with Witts on everything, including choosing to argue Mayor Kautz on every single item, rather than focusing on getting things accomplished while in office. It's typical, unproductive, and a waste or time and office. Those 4 are too busy trying to "best" the mayor and be "right" on every petty thing, than to focus on using their time in office wisely to get real things accomplished.

Very sad, and very predictable.....they should be the next to go. We don't have time to waste watching them argue, we need to clean house and get our city straight!

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Karl 2 years, 3 months ago

The above brought to you by Kelly's Mom.

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Marian 2 years, 3 months ago

"Those 4 are too busy trying to "best" the mayor and be "right" on every petty thing, than to focus on using their time in office wisely to get real things accomplished." So I guess you are stating that being right and doing the right thing is wrong? typical democrat jabber. 1. In legislative bodies in the free world majority rules. In Snellville's form of government Kautz is a member of the legislative branch not the executive branch and is therefore in the MINORITY. She uses every legal angle she can to leverage the Majority into doing the WRONG things. Witts et al just don't buy it. Kautz needs a civics lesson (and a lesson in manners while she is at it). 2. Like all democrats when you can't attack your opponents record you attack the person. Quite typical, next you will be saying that Witts has an ex employee who's wife died of cancer and it is Witts's fault.

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rocknroll 2 years, 3 months ago

That's really funny BornandraisedinSnellville. Kautz is the one standing in the way of making the city better. She was against the Farmer's Market against the portable stage against STAT against economic improvement against the Community Garden, against the volunteers who make all this stuff successful against protecting 2nd Amendment rights Meanwhile Emanuel, Howard, Krause and Witts are making things good things happen. That's not opinion. That's FACT.

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R 2 years, 3 months ago

Rock

That 2nd amendment charge is a little outta whack. The mayor called for a review of legal issues raised during an incident at a park elsewhere in Gwinnett County, hopefully so IT wouldn't be repeated in Snellville.

(To be fair, some local headline writers had used poetic license)

A lot of the other items seem to be choices she could make in the office.

Since the council meetings provide enough fodder in their own right, there’s no need to report inaccurate facts as you call them…

Because the truth REALLY is SO much more entertaining...

If this person could win the Mayor’s office, it looks like the Gwinnett Republican Party needs to WAKE up and clean its OWN house just a bit.

Perhaps take it as an internal warning that it’s ridden on Ronald Reagan’s coat tails long enough.

AND that there are REAL consequences to just riding on autopilot as a super majority.

Look at Congress, the DEMS had a LOCK for 40 years before they lost control; it took the Republicans ONLY 10 years to lose their LOCK.

For fun based on THAT ratio, since the DEMS ran the state for 100 years, the Republicans will have about 25 years BEFORE they turn it back over, so how close are we now to “The BIG Change”?

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rocknroll 2 years, 3 months ago

R- The 2nd amendment charge isn't out of whack. Read the minutes of the meeting like I did. They say the mayor told the city attorney to see about legislation to ban guns from the city park. She wanted to ban guns and didn't know that it would be against state law and she's an attorney. (Looks like not a very good one if she didn't know that.) Republican or Democrat doesn't make a difference either one should do what is best for the people. If voters cant see that that's their problem and their seeing it now.

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kevin 2 years, 3 months ago

and this city just appointed a manager. More money blown.

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