PTC Council raises approved

Thu, 08/16/2007 - 6:45pm
By: John Munford

Council also votes to avoid appeal of GRTA suit

The Peachtree City Council tonight narrowly approved doubling the salaries of the mayor from $9,000 to $18,000 a year and of council members from $6,000 to $12,000 a year.

And after an executive (closed) session, council voted 4-0-1 to decline filing an appeal of the city's lawsuit against the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, according to city spokesperson Betsy Tyler. A Fulton County Superior Court judge had ruled against the city, which sought to overturn a GRTA requirement to make the bridge over Line Creek for the extension of TDK Boulevard four lanes instead of two.

Council has since voted to abandon the road extension project, which would have linked the city to unincorporated Coweta County and ultimately to a 3,100 home subdivision Coweta has approved.

Councilwoman Cyndi Plunkett abstained from the vote, which was approved by the rest of council.

The raises, approved in a 3-1-1 vote, will not take effect until 2010, which means that none of the current council members will get that raise unless they are re-elected to office. It does mean, however, that anyone elected to council this November would get the raise in the middle of their term.

Council members Stuart Kourajian, Cyndi Plunkett and Steve Boone voted in favor of the raises and new councilman Mike Harman, in his first meeting, voted against the measure. Mayor Harold Logsdon abstained from the vote, saying he was willing to go along with the wishes of the rest of council.

The salary increase will cost an additional $33,000 a year compared to the current amount budgeted for city council and mayor salaries, officials have said.

Only four citizens spoke on the issue: two in favor and two against. Resident Robert Brown said he thought the raises resulted in too large an increase.

Brown also noted that the unintended consequence of raising the salaries is that it will also double the qualifying fee which each candidate must file in order to run for office. Plunkett has said she wanted the salary increases to encourage a wider variety of citizens to run for office because it will make it easier for them to afford working in the part-time position.

Another resident, Beth Pullias, told council that after attending a number of council meetings, she thinks council is “worth every penny” of the raise.

Logsdon noted that he has been silent on the issue because he has been focusing on finding new revenue streams for the city in the past 10-11 months, and he appreciated Plunkett taking charge of the issue and doing all the research.

The city had not changed the salary of mayor and council since 1985.

The motion approved by council included a provision to allow city council members to participate in the city’s tax deferred 457 retirement plan, which will cost the city nothing because the city does not match contributions to that plan. Harman tried to convince council to forget about raising the salaries and only allow council members to join the 457 program, but his effort fell on deaf ears.

Harman noted that having served as a volunteer on the city’s Water and Sewer Authority for some time, he felt uncomfortable voting for a raise of the mayor and council salaries even though he felt it might be the right thing to do.

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Stinger's picture
Submitted by Stinger on Fri, 08/17/2007 - 1:16am.

I cannot help but wonder why Mr. Logsdon chose to abstain. How does "focusing on finding new revenue streams for the city in the past 10-11 month" preclude him from having an opinion on the matter?

Whether I agree with the decision or not, I respect the four council members who did go on record over what could be a controversial decision down the road.

Sorry Mr. Mayor, but you just lost my vote.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Fri, 08/17/2007 - 8:59am.

I cannot help but wonder why Mr. Logsdon chose to abstain. How does "focusing on finding new revenue streams for the city in the past 10-11 month" preclude him from having an opinion on the matter?
Whether I agree with the decision or not, I respect the four council members who did go on record over what could be a controversial decision down the road.
Sorry Mr. Mayor, but you just lost my vote.

I was going to wait until my Letter to the Editor was posted, in next Wednesday's paper, before doing any posting.

But this comment changed my mind.

Mayor Logsdon made several uncharacteristic actions and statements, during the meeting. Yes, I was there.

This particular one drew quick and shocked reactions and questions from fellow old Council Members.

After the meeting, a person I was talking said this abstain, and a couple of other points, was due to my presentation at the Monday selection process. That I had solidly hit home on him, and some other board members. Yes, the person was there Monday.

I could not disagree since, on Monday, a couple of my statements, had the Mayor staring down at the desk top, not in anger. And were points he used his two questions to follow up on.

More so, they prompted a request for a meeting, with him, Monday, to discuss some proposal points, I made, during questioning.

My response was to schedule the meeting after the election. Then, I will be glad to sit down with him.

Even more so, another council member, at the Thursday night meeting, wants to meet with me, as follow up, on those proposals.

Strange. I got their attention, made points and proposals worth following up on, but was eliminated in the first round voting. Hmmmm.

Candidate for the Peachtree City Council

Spear Road Guy's picture
Submitted by Spear Road Guy on Fri, 08/17/2007 - 11:58am.

My God, this has got to be rock bottom. Not voting on a 100 percent payraise is about as unmanly as it gets.

To all those who still felt compelled to defend the mayor the slightest bit, this latest act should snuff out that flame once and for all.

To think I actually drank Logsdon's Kool Aid back at election time makes me pity myself.

Vote Republican

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Fri, 08/17/2007 - 12:41pm.

A no vote, and everyone here would have said, his vote didn't count anyways, and he's just pandering to the fringe.

A yes vote, and everyone here would have said he's money hungry. For some reason the Mayor stirs up vitriol on this board.

Frankly, I was surprised at the LACK of Citizen input on this pay raise. It was hardly noticeable. The Mayors response seems fitting, considering the lack of public comment.

If I'm wrong, show me where. Unless a vote is require by by-laws, politically, I can see why he did what he did.

Submitted by dollaradayandfound on Fri, 08/17/2007 - 1:07pm.

For a mayor, not voting is ALWAYS a chicken thing to do! No stance, BULL!

Citizens have given up with this administration in PTC, as they have with Washington.

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Fri, 08/17/2007 - 2:49pm.

that being said, his not voting is a defacto approval. I agreed with the increase in pay. If this Council is as bad as some think, they won't ever benefit.

Stinger's picture
Submitted by Stinger on Fri, 08/17/2007 - 8:55pm.

At first I felt the same way. No matter how one voted, someone could make an argument as to how it was self serving.

After further consideration, I decided that raising the salary was not such a bad thing to do, and I feel I can make a pretty sound argument as to why.

I don't think anyone would argue that the people who serve on our city council should be compensated for their efforts, or at least the ones who chose to be a part of the decision making process. As stated in this article, their salary has not increased since 1985. That means that by the time this goes into effect, it will have been 25 years since the last pay increase! It is safe to say that it is long overdue.

Doubling their salary might seem like they are being greedy, but a little research showed that a 1985 salary of $9,000, adjusted for inflation, equates to $17,422.78 today; almost double. (Ref:

In my mind, it is not hard to justify this salary increase, so why shy away from voting for it? Worrying about how you will be judged does not justify abstaining, nor does an apparent LACK of public interest.

pentapenguin's picture
Submitted by pentapenguin on Thu, 08/16/2007 - 11:12pm.

Wow skyspy! While reading this article, I had exactly the same thought: when are they going to raise the salaries of police and firefighters?

Save yourself and maybe others too. Concealed Carry Permit How-To

Submitted by skyspy on Sat, 08/18/2007 - 12:27pm.

Our Councilfools knew how much money they would get for their trouble from the begining.

We have never had a shortage of people running for office. There was no need for a payraise for people who barely work.

Submitted by dollaradayandfound on Sat, 08/18/2007 - 11:45am.

Nearly everyone does---choose their profession or job.
The problem is this: usually they are only fit for duty for about 25 years or less--that is as a full time go put it out fireman or policeman.
So what you have is about half who can do the job, and the other half advises them! The second half makes twice as much money for their experience.
What is needed is something similar to the army. Bring in new ones out of fire school all of the time. Since the salary is only medium high, most will leave in just a few years to make room.
If, however you make them the second half and with a pension, they are there forever. NY, Boston, Phil., Atlanta, all have those same problems.
The fact is that the job is not worth what it pays a 20 year captain or above with a pension. It is like having to many senior master sergeants in the army. In the larger departments, some only make soup and coffee. It is a "heritage."

Submitted by skyspy on Thu, 08/16/2007 - 8:08pm.

If we are going to keep up with other cities let's do it across the board.

Let's right size our city staff of police and firefighters. Let's raise their salaries be competitive "with other cities our size". Let's make sure our city employees pay the same for health coverage as other city employees in "our size".

I'm glad that we are doing this as long as it is fair for everyone.

All this will do is entice more greedy people who think it is an easy job.

mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Sat, 08/18/2007 - 6:27am.

Police and fire salaries have been adjusted 7 or 8 times in the last 22 years and have much more than doubled - although I am all for paying them more. Council salaries have been adjusted once (Thursday)in 22 years and doubled.

Where are we in comparison to other cities our size. A little low on police, right on with fire and council and mayor.

This is a huge non-event and those voting for the increased salary won't benefit significantly from it unless they get reelected - and that doesn't seem likely since everyone on there - except the new guy looks like a voluntary one-termer. Maybe they know Steve Brown is coming back and they want to compensate him for his full-time effort.

Submitted by skyspy on Sat, 08/18/2007 - 12:23pm.

You are the master of the understatement.

We have 80 miles of cart paths, and I'm not sure how many miles of road. Compare Sandy Springs: 37 square miles

Roswell 39 miles of area to patrol

The starting pay for cops w/high school diploma 38,043 For 4yr degree 40,752. They have 100 officers in Sandy Springs, Rosewell total employees for their dept. is 195. I would guess only the actual no. of cops out numbers the adminstrative personnel. We only have 50 cops to patrol much larger area.

I had a hard time finding info. on what other cities are paying their firefighters. We were below the national standards for safety. They hired 6 but never said if that brings us up to even the minimum standards for a city our size. The city of Decatur is 10km or about 4.2 miles according to their city web site. They report that they have 3 shifts of firefighters staffed with 12 each shift. The last report I saw for us said we had about 1 guy per truck.

We really didn't need to raise the salaries for our coucil. Crooked politicians are a dime a dozen. We have never been short of canidates to fill seats.

Good cops and firefighters are hard to come by.

Submitted by dollaradayandfound on Fri, 08/17/2007 - 4:39am.

I agree that starting police salaries should be raised to say, $40,000 for academy graduates with some kind of degree.
However, after one year, having evaluated every three months by an independent committee, they be raised to $45,000.
After that, much slower raises. Too many captains, majors, assistant town managers, etc., eating up our money.
Has anyone compared the sergeant and below average salaries to the captain and above averages?
There is a lot to management, and seniority should have little to do with pay after qualifying.

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