How Powerful is Warner Robins' Mayor?

6:38 PM, Aug 21, 2013   |    comments
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"We're not a strong mayor we're not a weak mayor, you're a full time mayor with no authority, so I have all the responsibility but no authority."

That's what Warner Robins Mayor Chuck Shaheen told 13WMAZ Tuesday. It's one reason he says he's running for a seat on the city's council instead of seeking re-election.

The Carl Vinson Institute at the University of Georgia calls the city's mayoral position hybrid, because some aspects of the job are strong and others weak.

They said Warner Robins' government structure sits in the gray area between a strong mayor system and weak mayor.

What that means is the Warner Robins mayor and council together can make changes. In fact the mayor only has one vote like any other member of council.

But if the mayor disagrees with the majority of the council he can't do anything about it.

Warner Robins' mayor doesn't have veto power.

A month ago, council also stripped away his power to grant raises. The council must approve any pay hikes.

Now every city in the state can adjust their government with approval of the General Assembly.

"A number of states have a standard model if you will so if you are a city then the mayor has this power and the city council has this power and this kind of thing, but Georgia is very unique in that regard because everyone is a little different from one another," explains City Attorney Jim Elliott.

Just to give you an idea of the differences Macon Mayor Robert Reichert doesn't have a vote on the council, but he has veto power.

Some cities, like Perry and Centerville, have both a mayor and a city administrator.

That's one format Warner Robins council has considered.

13WMAZ spoke with a few council members who said they wouldn't be against a change, but they want Warner Robins voters to decide.

So you may see a question on the next ballot, but to change the city's charter state legislatures would have to approve it.

Warner Robins votes November 5th on the mayor's and city council races. Qualifying begins on Monday.

View the Handbook for Georgia Mayors and Councilmembers.

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