The Warner Robins City Council approved a city administrator position Monday, despite a request from the Chamber of Commerce that it be put on the ballot in November.
After a heated discussion on the matter at the last council meeting, the council approved it after a short and calm debate. They had no discussion on it in the pre-council meeting, which is where it got heated at the last meeting.
Councilman Mike Davis cast the lone dissenting vote, with Councilman Clifford Holmes abstaining. Holmes said he was not opposed to an administrator but supported having it on the ballot for voters to decide.
“I think this is a major decision where we are trying to change our form of government and I think it ought to be the people’s right to have a say,” Davis said before the vote was taken.
Mayor Randy Toms did not comment. He has previously said he has a plan to turn the city clerk’s job into an administrator’s position by giving the clerk more authority.
April Bragg, president and CEO of the Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber’s board of directors supports putting the issue on the ballot for voters to decide.
The approval comes on the opening day of qualifying for city elections. Councilman Tim Thomas, who is not up for re-election, said at the last meeting he thought those running for mayor needed to know what the council was planning to do. He said it will be up to those who are in office in January to decide the details, or whether to vote it down altogether.
“We just set up the skeleton tonight,” Thomas said. “We are not going to touch it until after the election.”
Toms and three council members are up for re-election on Nov. 7.
Thomas also addressed criticisms that the city had not determined how to pay for the new position.
“I firmly believe that with the administrator’s position, we are probably going to save the money just by being so efficient,” he said.