1 thought on “Real News podcast: Grover on Strong Mayor

  1. The only mandatory difference between a “Mayor-Council” form of government (Pensacola, Century, Jay) versus a “Council-Manager” form of government (Milton, Gulf Breeze) is whether the “chief administrative officer” is elected (Mayor-Council) or appointed (Council-Manager). Of the five municipalities in the two-county Pensacola Bay Area, the only one that works well is Gulf Breeze. Why? It has two things the others lack. First, Gulf Breeze has a leadership Mayor who is a voting member and the leader of the City Council (as in Charleston and many other very successful cities). Second, Gulf Breeze has a solidly professional City Manager “and” Assistant City Manager. Under Pensacola’s new Charter, the new Mayor is actually a bit weaker than the old City Manager. I reviewed both Charters side-by-side and changes made to the city code. As just one example, the City Manager could hire department heads. The Mayor now needs the council’s approval. Same with the City Clerk and the Mayor needs the council’s approval to fire the City Clerk. This is what Charter Review Commission Chairwoman Crystal Spencer had to say about the matter in her August 10, 2009 letter to the City Council written jointly with the CRC’s legal counsel Margaret Stopp, “As I recall the discussion of the CRC, the intent was to create a balance of power within a Mayor-Council form of government (not ‘strong’ mayor form of government).” Spencer and Stopp repeatedly emphasized the importance of a balance of powers with checks and balances. Hayward and Robinson don’t agree. As a result, they have squandered nearly 11 years to date working to bypass the city council.

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