The Sandy Springs Charter Commission formally completed its six-month study of the city’s founding document Sept. 6 and suggested that it needed only a few tweaks.

“One of the most interesting things is how few changes we actually recommended,” said Rusty Paul, chairman of the commission. “That says much for the original charter. It was largely what I would term a ‘cleanup’ effort after five years.”

The creation of a commission to review the five-year-old city’s charter was called for in the original charter itself. The commission reviewed the charter section by section — at times, line by line – and found only a few changes it thought should be made.

“It’s taken a little longer than thought it would take, but it’s something significant for the city,” Paul told the other commissioners.

One change the commission recommended was to impose term limits of eight years in office on the city’s elected officials. Others were attempts to strengthen the mayor’s power by noting that the city manager reports to both the mayor and the City Council and by saying the city’s revenue estimates should come from the mayor rather than the city manager.

“This just kind of clarifies the lines of authority between the mayor and the city manager,” Paul said.

And changes made to the charter must be made by the Georgia Legislature. The commission’s findings are only recommendations that are reported to the legislators who represent Sandy Springs.

They’ll have to decide whether to put in place another recommendation the commission made: that another commission to review the charter again in eight years.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.