DUNWOODY, Ga. – It will be January before proposals on term limits and election dates brought forth by the Dunwoody Charter Commission last fall will be considered for adoption.
The five-member commission held bi-monthly meetings last fall, combing through the city’s bylaws line by line to examine whether changes should be considered. Its recommendations must be passed by the Georgia General Assembly before a local referendum can be scheduled. Dunwoody voters will make the final call on whether to adopt any adjustments to the charter.
The Dunwoody City Council voted in March to defer discussion on the proposals, missing the window for any legislative consideration for 2021.
Charter Commission Chairman Robert Wittenstein said he is confident that the recommendations would work their way through the Legislature at its next session. Mayor Lynn Deutsch agreed that the measures would be considered sooner, rather than later.
The committee’s suggested changes to the charter included modifying the term limit for the mayor from two consecutive terms to three, establishing term limits for council members to three consecutive stints, modifying the terms of election for council members so that a winner could be determined by a plurality of 45 percent, rather than a majority of 50 percent, and shifting the election for mayor by two years to coincide with council district elections, beginning in 2025.
The commission also recommended the Georgia Legislature make six changes to the city’s charter, which would not require passage through referendum. Those changes include:
Adding the wording “improve water quality” under environmental protection.
A provision that would use the Consumer Price Index as a basis for compensation of the mayor and City Council.
Removing defined expense allowances for the mayor and council, and replacing it with reimbursement of actual expenditures.
Shifting the date of swearing-in of newly elected officials from the first work day of the year to the first regularly scheduled meeting of the year;
A provision for the establishment of emergency powers during circumstances affecting the life and health of residents.
Moving back, by one month, the schedule for approval of the annual budget.
The commission has considered, but did not pass several recommendations, including the removal of the millage rate cap of 3.04 and a provision that the mayor could be elected by a plurality of 45 percent, rather than 50 percent plus one vote.