In a five to one vote, Warner Robins Council approved hiring a so-called 'council administrator.'
Charles Whatley, who's already a consultant with the city, will take over the role.
Whatley will work for Council gathering information, managing implementation of Council goals, providing administrative assistance to council and representing council in budget discussions, according to the approved contract.
The contract is for one year and Whatley will receive city benefits as his form of payment. Whatley is already being paid under a different contract, according to this WMAZ open records request from last year. Whatley has been paid $184,000. Councilman Tim Thomas says the benefits are worth about $15,000.
Thomas says the council needs help gathering information.
“The Mayor's Office has got everybody at his beck and call. He picks up the phone he gets all the information he needs. We don't have that, we've got to have somebody out there getting the information for us,” Thomas said.
The Councilman also said that this makes it easier for department heads who will now only have to give the info to one person representing Council, instead of six.
Thomas also said if this position works the way it’s supposed to, he does not expect the debate over hiring a city administrator to return.
During the meeting, Mayor Randy Toms reiterated that he was against bringing in a city administrator that would step on the mayor’s existing powers under the city charter.
Councilman Mike Davis voted against it, saying he did not have the time to properly discuss the issue. He also expressed concerns about confusion among department heads, Whatley, and the Mayor’s Office about whom would answer to whom.
Davis continued, saying he had not been properly informed of the plan until Friday afternoon.
Thomas said the contract does not alter, restrict, or infringe on the powers of the mayor’s office.