20 Aug 2014
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Mayor Vetoes Budget Amendment, Council Votes Tonight

The budget amendment that will remove financial support for the mayor's administrative assistant is subject to a veto override vote Thursday evening.

Mayor Vetoes Budget Amendment, Council Votes Tonight

The Canton City Council will hold a special meeting on Thursday at 5 p.m. to vote on overriding a vetoed budget amendment that will remove the funding for the city mayor's administrative assistant.

According to the Canton City Charter, section 2.22A(d) specifies that if the mayor vetoes a piece of legislation, the vote on the veto must be held at the next meeting of the city council. If the next city council meeting is a non-voting work session, a special session must be called and advertised to vote on the veto. If the council votes to override the mayor's veto, the mayor can take no further action and the legislation goes into effect immediately.

Mayor Gene Hobgood vetoed the budget amendment on Jan. 27 after it was approved by the city council with a 5-1 vote on Jan. 17. Councilman Glen Cummins was the lone dissenting vote amongst the council.

When the mayor vetoes an ordinance, he must provide a written explanation of his reasoning. One of the points of Hobgood's veto (attached to this article) is as follows:

The Budget Amendment is made in Bad Faith. Two Councilmen recently stated to the Mayor's Administrative Assistant that this was not about her, but she was just being used as a pawn in their opposition to the Mayor.

Hobgood also says that the lack of a pressing fiscal need to divert the administrative assistant's salary to a nebulous contingency fund and, "decisions...made outside the public purview" factored into his decision to veto the amendment.

Supporters of the amendment on the city council, including Councilman Bill Bryan, feel it is uncessesary for a "part-time mayor to have a full-time administrative assistant." Additionally, the money that was being used to pay the administrative assistant can be better used to re-hire city employees, particularly in the streets department.

Councilman John Beresford, a supporter of the amendment, denies the removal of the mayor's administrative assistant is anything more than a financial decision.

"We're not against the mayor, we're trying to move this city ahead," Beresford said at the Jan. 3 city council meeting.

The vote on the amendment will be held at 5 p.m. at Canton City Hall.

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