• 5 Does Not Equal 7: City Charter Examined

    By Staff
    January 27, 2015

    5_7At the last meeting,  Councilman Gray said  “I’ve got to look for a compelling reason to have the election scheduled in a certain time or another”.

    I will state several compelling reasons.

    The Charter says we shall have 7 members. Our council was designed to operate with seven members.

    The Charter tells us we want an empty seat filled promptly by the way it handles a vacant seat in the case of suspension or resignation. And we have two.

    Our City Charter says if we have less than six months before the end of the term, the council shall appoint a successor for the remainder of the term.

    If we have more than six months, that the city council shall order a special election to accomplish one objective: To fill the balance of the unexpired term.

    The state gives four dates to hold the election, but that was not the state’s blessing to delay the elections at your will.

    Today the balance of the unexpired term is 339 days for the post 2 vacated seat.  The election that you voted for will fill that seat for less than 58 days.

    Do not deny the intent of our charter. The Charter at every possible time indicates that the seats should be filled.

    There are operational issues that the council did not address, such as the Removal of a council member after an ethics investigation. Section 2.16.B.1 Requires five votes to remove a member. Not a majority.

    The intent of the Charter is Not for the Mayor to have absolute Veto Power.

    The intent of the City Charter is actually quite clear. Five does not equal Seven.

    When is less representation better than more representation?

    Eliminate the potential issues. Letting any portion of the balance of the unexpired terms expire between March 17th and November 3rd because of your action is denying the intent of the charter.

    I ask you to reverse your decision and schedule the elections for March 17, 2015.

    Thank you,

    Ernest Moosa


    Link: The City of Johns Creek Charter



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    Johnny in Norcross

    Good analysis. It seems in this day of government corruption that our local assemblies and elected officials would be more aware of playing inside the rules. Would the Attorney General or General Assembly be able to do anything with this to put pressure from the state level or is this an issue of the citizens becoming more involved?

    Ernest Moosa

    Thank you for the comment.

    if this action is not acceptable to the citizens of Johns Creek, I encourage them to contact the council members @ City Hall.

    Sure, we can get the State involved. But I think the best solution is for the City Council to revisit this issue, address the concerns I have mentioned, and take another vote.

    For example, do the City Council members agree or disagree that an empty seat is not preferred in all the other cases that I cited that it would be filled?

    Does the City Council agree or disagree with the idea that less representation is better than more representation?

    Does the City Council agree or disagree that there is not a way for them to remove a member if that were to become necessary?

    I believe that they heard my comments. What I do not know is if they are open minded enough to admit they have erred in their decision, and are willing to revisit it.

    If each of my points are dismissed as not relevant, why even have a City Charter?

    Johns Creek is spending more money on consultants so that they can get more input on the Business Development District. If more input is good there, then why not the City Council as well?

    Attend a City Council meeting. Watch the debate over issues, and decide for yourself if two additional voices expressing opinions is warranted. As we sit there observing, and we see glaring omissions in the debate, we must be silent. At that point we can only point out the omissions after they vote. By then it's too late.

    We need two more members to reduce the number of points that are now omitted.

    If Johns Creek wants to stay one of the top cities in the nation, then we need to have a City Council that is one of the top City Councils in the nation. 5/7ths of a City Council will not be sufficient.

    Ernest Moosa

    The real question I would like an answer to is this:

    Did they election they voted for "fulfill the requirement that it be for the unexpired balance of the term" and not just some portion of the term?

    Their honest answer to that question should tell you all you need to know when you vote for City Council members in future elections.


    An issue was raised with the Georgia Attorney General's office during the last council term. A question was raised, City Attorney responded and to this date, the citizen has been unable to get a response regarding the Georgia Attorney General's conclusion. So if you can hold your City Council and City Officials accountable as they are your neighbors, that is your best option. Or manage through voting. Otherwise engaging other levels appears to not be an option.

    JC Guy

    It appears to be an oversight that the Georgia code for municipalities doesn't state a maximum amount of time governments can wait to fill a vacancy. The law and the constitution provide both minimums and maximums for other positions (such as US and State representatives and senators). The law for municipalities has a minimum time frame but not a maximum.

    Given the history of representative democracy in this country there should be enough precedent to not allow waiting 9 months to fill vacancies.

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