City considers charter change for assistant city attorneys

ALBANY, Ga. -- The City Commission read for the first time Tuesday a proposed change to the City Charter that would allow the commission to appoint assistant city attorneys, rather than be hired by the city manager.

Commissioners are considering amending section 3(i) of the city charter which deals with appointed officials.

Currently, the city manager, the city attorney, the city clerk, assistant city clerk, a chief municipal court judge and any associate judges are all appointed by the city commission. Every other city employee is hired by the city manager.

The change would simply add the phrase "and any assistant city attorney(s) it shall deem appropriate," to the paragraph.

Under the current system, while the city attorney works at the pleasure of the commission, assistant city attorneys work for the city manager.

The change comes after weeks of turmoil within the city attorney's office led to the suspension of the city attorney and the termination of an assistant city attorney.

Under the Municipal Home Rule Act of 1965, city governments can alter their own charters without approval or consent of the Georgia General Assembly if they comply with certain provisions, one being that they read the proposed change publicly in two consecutive meetings.

The commission will be able to officially adopt the change at its Aug. 31 night meeting.