Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023–10:06 p.m.
-John Bailey, Rome News-Tribune-
Cave Spring could be advertising for its first city manager as early as this summer.
Mayor Rob Ware said Wednesday that the City Council voted unanimously for the change to its charter presented at a Tuesday called meeting. The next step is to transmit a final copy to the state legislative delegation, which will shepherd it through the Georgia General Assembly.
The General Assembly has set a closing date of March 29 this year.
“I’ve talked to (Rep.) Eddie Lumsden, and (Councilmember) Tom Lindsey talked to (Rep.) Katie Dempsey, who is the chair of the delegation,” Ware said. “As far as I know, there’s enough time to get it passed, to be implemented July 1.”
The southern Floyd County city has a population of just under 1,200, and much of its property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Under the city charter, the mayor is the chief administrator. But it’s a part-time elected position and the council — including Ware — think it’s time to bring on a full-time professional. The $5.1 million sewer upgrade underway is just one of the reasons. The purchase of the former Cave Spring Elementary School, public safety concerns, and the ability to guide development while balancing the budget are all coming into play.
“I told the council, ‘I doubt that you will ever have a more impactful thing you do… This is a major deal,'” Ware said.
Once the board decided to move forward, City Attorney Frank Beacham quickly produced several potential rewrites of the charter, including a section spelling out the powers and responsibilities of a city manager. Council members agreed on the details Tuesday night.
As soon as it’s in final form, Ware said, they want to check in with their legislators to see if they have any concerns — and then start the legal process.
“Implementing it is still going to require a lot of work,” the mayor said.
A job description and contract will have to be drawn up before the city can start advertising for candidates, although they’re not starting from scratch. Ware said they’ll be working with the Georgia Municipal Association, the International City/County Management Association and possibly other organizations as well.
“But we can’t do anything until we get it through the legislature and the governor signs it into law,” Ware said. “That’s the next step.”