This doesn’t have to be complicated.
Ballot Question: “Shall the City Charter be amended to change from a City Manager structure of government to a Strong Mayor for a five year trial period starting January 1, 2009?”
Under the new system the Mayor would be the City’s chief executive officer, similar to the governor or the president. The Council would be the legislative body, providing checks and balances to the Mayor’s new authority.
Two committees would be established by March 31, 2008 to address the details associated with the transition:
- City Council Transition Committee would be composed of all city council members, not including the Mayor. This committee would develop recommendations, regarding how the new role of the Council would be implemented, within the parameters of the measure approved by the voters.
- Citizens’ Advisory Committee would be a 10-member committee created by the City Council. Its purpose would be to provide input and assistance to the Council throughout the transition process.
How the Strong Mayor will work:
If adopted, this measure would amend the Charter to suspend certain provisions of the Charter to create a Mayor-Council form of government for a five-year trial period, beginning January 1, 2009, and ending December 31, 2014. Voter action would be required to extend or make this change permanent; otherwise after the December 31, 2014, sunset date, all changes implemented by this measure are repealed and all provisions of the Charter suspended by this measure are revived.
Approval of this measure would remove the Mayor from the Council by providing for a nine-member Council. The Council districts and at-large seats would not be affected by this measure. It would take the affirmative vote of five Council members to take any action. The Mayor would have the authority to give direction to all City officers and employees, except the City Attorney.
The Mayor retains the power to veto those resolutions and ordinances adopted by the Council establishing policy. The veto power would not extend to matters of internal governance of the Council or to the application of existing municipal rules to specific decisions of the Council. It would take six votes to override any mayoral veto.
The Mayor would be responsible for preparing the annual budget for the Council’s consideration and adoption. The Council would appoint an Independent Budget Analyst to review and provide budget information to the Council, independent from the Mayor.
The Council would establish its own rules, elect a Mayor Pro Temp and establish its committees. The Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem would jointly set the agenda for general council and Committee of the Whole meetings. When present, the Mayor would preside over those meetings, but the Mayor would have no right to vote.
City Manager and Department Heads
The Mayor would appoint the City Manager with Council confirmation. The City Manager would serve at the pleasure of the Mayor. The Mayor would appoint the City Attorney with Council confirmation but the City Attorney could not be removed without a six-vote approval of the Council.
The Mayor would appoint the Police Chief and Fire Chief, subject to Council confirmation. All other department heads formerly under the City Manager would be appointed by the Mayor and serve at the pleasure of the Mayor. The Mayor would appoint all other members of City Boards and Commissions, subject to Council confirmation.