Cave Spring council mulling city manager form of government

Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023–

-David Crowder, WRGA News-

The Cave Spring City Council is exploring the idea of moving to a city manager form of government.

Cave Spring City Council members Charles Jackson and Tom Lindsey, along with Mayor Rob Ware, discussed possibly moving to a council-manager form of government on Tuesday at the Rome city manager’s office

Cave Spring currently has five elected council members and an elected mayor.  The majority of the council seems to be somewhat behind the idea of eliminating the mayor’s position and hiring a city manager.

On Tuesday, council members met with Rome City Manager Sammy Rich, Assistant City Manager Meredith Ulmer, and City Clerk Joe Smith to get their ideas and advice since Rome has had a city manager form of government for more than 100 years.

Current mayor Rob Ware said he is in favor of making the move, but the council needs to make sure it is the right move for Cave Spring and that they have planned it right.

“The mechanics of making it happen aren’t as difficult as implementing the changes,” he said. “Anytime you change a form of government, you really need to go slow on it.”

Rich told council members that he sees their interest in moving to a city manager as a positive but warned it’s a decision not to be taken lightly, adding that municipal government is complicated and will likely become even more complicated.

“Knowing and dealing with water regulations, that’s a good example,” he said. “At the end of the day, we are a CEO of a business. The City of Rome is a large business with a lot of employees. We have a large budget. So, it’s a complicated thing.”

Council member Tom Lindsey said he believes Cave Spring is in a transitional period due in part to the closing of the elementary school

“In my opinion, this idea of the council-manager form of government is where we need to be, starting right now,” he said.

Council member Joyce Mink said another positive associated with having a city manager is the continuity of operations in changing political landscapes.

“Tom, Rob, and I are up for election in November, and all we have to do is make someone mad in August, and then we’re gone,” she said. “Then, who is going to do the job?”

Cave Spring Council member Joyce Mink listens as Assistant Rome  City Manager Meredith Ulmer describes her experiences with a city manager form of government

Rich and the council both agreed that whatever decision is made, the process needs to be open and upfront.

“Don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to shove a form of government down if folks aren’t ready for it,” Rich told the council. “Only you can answer that because you have the pulse of Cave Spring.

Going to a city manager would require a change in the city charter and the adoption of a resolution by the Georgia General Assembly.

The Cave Spring City Council will hold a called meeting Wednesday at 6 p.m. at city hall to discuss the issue further.

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