Perry leaders explain how their city manager system works

Perry leaders explain city manager system

Warner Robins City Council started publicly discussing the idea of changing the way the city is run Monday night.

The debate centered around adding a city administrator or manager to handle day-to-day operations.

WMAZ wanted to explain how one local city uses the manager system and why they say it works for them.

James Faircloth has been Perry's Mayor since 2010. He says having a city manager to help elected officials is invaluable.

“The day to day operation of a city can be technical, is technical in nature. Hiring a qualified city manager that understands those processes, the laws that are required to be followed in that form of government, to me, is critical,” Faircloth said.

Faircloth says the position allows elected officials to focus more on policy and the city's vision for the future. He also says it has worked well for the city since 1985.

“It helps us operate efficiently, it helps us be fully informed,” he added.

City Manager Lee Gilmour has been here for 16 years and says he has three main jobs. The first is to reduce the workload of elected officials.

“The second is to be a center for the institutional memory of the organization. And then the third thing is to handle and supervise a lot of the personnel issues,” Gilmour said in his office Tuesday.

Gilmour also says he can work as a referee between departments without having to worry about politics.

The city manager is hired and fired by the mayor and council, not the voters. Lastly, he says his office is there to keep everyone informed.

“The primary thing you always want to do is to avoid any types of surprises for the elected officials,” Gilmour said.

When Perry switched to this system in 1985 it did make the mayor's position part-time. Faircloth makes $12,000 a year as mayor.

The switch also changed Perry’s government from a strong mayor, weak council system to a weak mayor, strong council system.

Warner Robins City Attorney Jim Elliott said on Tuesday that Warner Robins is a mix between a strong mayor and council system. 

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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