Camilla mayor asks for more tools to do her job - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Camilla mayor asks for more tools to do her job

May 1, 2008

Camilla -  Camilla's part-time mayor wants full-time perks. Mayor Mary Jo Haywood wants the city to provide her with a cell phone, a credit card, and an office at city hall, even though no other mayor in the town of 5,500 ever had those perks. 

Haywood's supporters say she needs them to succeed. Now, council members are scrambling to set a policy.

Camilla Citizens for Improvement worry their new mayor Mary Jo Haywood isn't being given what she needs to do her job. In the four months since she took office, Haywood's asked for a cell phone, office space in city hall, and a city credit card for emergencies.

"To give you an example there were some important papers that needed to be signed and I guess they couldn't get up with her so, they sent a city employee out looking for her to find her," said Rhunette Oliver, Camilla Citizens for Improvement.

City Manager Mike Larkin says no previous mayor or council member had what Haywood's requesting. In fact, since Camilla has a city manager form of government the mayor's position is largely ceremonial. The job is just part time.

Previous mayors had their own personal business offices they used for mayoral duties; Since Haywood is retired, the council offered to allow her to use some space inside city hall as needed.

"We don't have any vacant office space in city hall for a permanent office, but we do have room in council chambers or whatever for those sorts of things," said Mike Larkin, Camilla City Manager.

Now, the city council is drafting a resolution to clarify what benefits elected officials should receive. The group says the council isn't willing to work with the mayor and the absence of her picture in the city calendar proves it.

"City Council is trying to limit her from doing anything, they won't give her access to anything, they have cast her out," said Walter Anderson, Camilla Citizen's for Improvement.

The group complains that mayors in other small towns have one. City Manager Larkin says the Mayor isn't being singled out, the resolution will apply to all elected officials.

"We have six council members and a mayor, so it would apply to all seven of those people," said Larkin.

Camilla Citizens for Improvement say the city is obviously ready for a change and they hope both sides can stop being stuck in their ways and come to a compromise.

Council members have a work session scheduled for May 6th, they plan to vote on the resolution at their May 12th meeting.

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