Stone Mountain Mayor Gary Peet said he’s looking forward to possibly relinquishing some of his power next month.
The city’s residents will have an opportunity to decide whether all of the city’s day-to-day operations will be the sole responsibility of City Manager Barry Amos – a change that would reduce the mayor to the same level of his city council counterparts.
As it stands, Peet has the power to directly supervise city employees and make purchases for the city up to $3,000. Any purchases more costly require the approval of the city council. The mayor’s position would still be popularly elected.
“It really is more than one person can do,” Peet said. “I think the mayor needs to provide political leadership and help the council and the city develop a vision and direction.”
If voters approve the change, Peet and the city council would essentially be responsible for creating policies for the city government to operate within. Day-to-day operations, including hiring and firing, would be Amos’ responsibility – provided he is retained as city manager.
The ballot measure, which would not take effect until Jan. 1, would give the city a two-month period to find a replacement if the city desired one. Amos is considered a part-time employee.
The change would also allow one person to set a vision for the city and see it through over a long period of time, Peet said. Stone Mountain’s city manager position has suffered high turnover because the position was under the direction of the mayor – a job that also has a history of turning over frequently.
“Cities that have a good city manager, they do well and they’re wise to hang onto them,” he said.
Amos was hired in May 2008 and replaced Peet who had been city manager for the previous six years.
Since taking over as mayor, Peet said he’s been surprised by how often he’s been approached to show favoritism or take shortcuts with influential residents or businesses seeking city services. If the mayor had less power, the city would be less susceptible to that sort of corruption, and the city’s government would be more insulated.
“[The city] needs to be governed by law, not by man,” Peet said.