Editor, There is no proof showing that the Ludowici charter was amended to raise the salary of the judge of municipal court.
This salary has been increased from $500 to $750. The charter reads $300 to $500. At the February council meeting, I spoke to the council about this subject. The city attorney was in attendance.
Mayor James Fuller said in an open meeting that the increased salary would be given to the judge and “if” it turned out to be illegal, the judge would return the amount he was overpaid. These are the same people charging others with crimes in municipal court. This will make Judge Fowler one of the highest-paid judges for this population in Georgia.
Even if this salary is changed legally through the General Assembly, it won’t go into effect until 2016 unless a legal clause exists that permits the salary to take affect now. When a salary is set, it has to be done before the new term of office. The council voted for this raise in January 2011, but it was contingent on the legalities to the changing of the charter; nothing was done. This is shown in the minutes for the January 2011 meeting.
The mayor also is written a travel expense check of $200 per month. The minutes of the Aug. 12, 2003, meeting show a $50 per diem rate. I asked how the mayor earned this amount because, in my opinion, you actually must go somewhere to receive travel expenses. I was told that the mayor doesn’t have to show evidence of travel or any other proof.
After receiving this answer, I looked up the meaning of “per diem.” The U.S. General Services Administration website says per diem is the allowance for lodging, meals and incidental expenses. In no way does it say someone can claim they went somewhere and receive our tax money without showing proof of the journey or lodging.
The city will pay approximately $30,000 for unemployment this month, but they have hired at least four more family members to replace the ones they fired even though they signed a resolution last year forbidding this behavior.
— Janis Goode