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McDonough charter-change vote expected Monday

The powers of McDonough’s mayor may change in the coming days.

The City Council is expected to vote, Monday, at 7 p.m., on whether to hand off many of Mayor Billy Copeland’s administrative duties to a city administrator.

The potential change in governance is one of several changes to be finalized with the adoption of a new charter for Henry’s county seat.

Mayor Copeland was not available for comment, Friday. The city’s Mayor Pro Tem, Rufus Stewart, said he is in favor of giving “day-to-day responsibilities” for overseeing McDonough’s department heads, to a city administrator.

“The mayor still has his responsibilities, to do whatever he’s been doing, but the administrator [should be] in charge of daily operations,” said Stewart. “An administrator needs to be the one the department heads answer to.”

Stewart acknowledged that the issue of mayoral powers in McDonough has generated “heated debate” among councilmembers in recent weeks. He remained confident, however, that city leaders will be able to adjust to the changes, if they are approved.

So far, among city councilmembers, only Wayne Smith has voiced support for maintaining the status quo. He did not respond to calls seeking comment this week.

The city is currently operating under a charter from 1981, which has been amended four times. That charter calls for a mayor/council form of government, in which a mayor acts as the city’s chief executive officer, and votes only when there is a tie among councilmembers.