The Dunwoody Charter Commission Oct. 5 passed recommendations to change the oath of office timing and to adjust the mayor and City Council members’ salaries for inflation.
The commission also passed a recommendation to grant the mayor emergency powers.
The charter commission is a group of appointed residents who review the charter and history and make recommendations for changes to the Georgia General Assembly, according to the city code. The review must be completed by Nov. 9.
Under the current charter, the council meets on the “first working day in January” after an election year to swear in the new mayor and council members.
The commission recommended the swearing-in ceremony should take place during “the first regularly scheduled meeting in January” after an election year. The meeting would be called to order by the outgoing mayor and ended by the incoming mayor.
The commission also recommends adding a provision to adjust the mayor and council’s salaries for inflation, a provision taken from the Sandy Springs charter.
In addition to the salary, the charter currently allows for $5,000 in annual expenses for the mayor and $3,000 in expenses for each council member. The commission recommends removing those amounts for expenses and instead allowing the council to pass an ordinance “for the reimbursement of expenses actually and necessarily incurred by the mayor and members of the city council in carrying out their official duties.”
The salaries are recommended to remain the same — the mayor makes $16,000 annually and council members make $12,000.
The mayor also would be able to enact emergency orders if the council declares a state of emergency if the commission’s recommendation passes.
Commission Chair Robert Wittenstein said that change came from the city’s inability to enact a curfew during nationwide protests against racial injustice earlier in the year.
The council would be able to adopt an ordinance in a called meeting to declare a state of emergency, which would be valid for 30 days unless renewed if the commission’s recommendation is passed.
During those 30 days, the mayor could “implement and enforce emergency orders to protect life, safety and property” and could suspend regular city business if it “would prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the emergency or disaster.”