Weak Mayor Council-Manager

Uploaded on

City is looking for CITIZEN RECOMMENDATIONS to improve …

City is looking for CITIZEN RECOMMENDATIONS to improve
city governance, Get in line! Meeting at
City Hall 6 - 9 PM, Jan 17. See you there.

  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Be the first to comment
    Be the first to like this
No Downloads


Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds



Embeds 0

No embeds

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

    No notes for slide


  • 1. Alternatives toWeak Mayor Council-ManagerHow to Return Executive Authority Back to Local Municipal Mayors
  • 2. Charter Reform Movement  Back to the Future  Return executive power back to city mayor. This can only happen with the City Charter defining a new role for mayor.  This definition of mayor’s role requires local leadership to gain a new understanding of the consequences that a ceremonial leader without authority has on capital investors.  This lack of power in an absence of a functioning executive is a product of elite skepticism of urban democracy leading to increased influence of special interests.  Progressive Era reforms eliminated the executive office of mayor with a city council and professional city administrator.  Our Federal and State Political Systems devalues city governance  These structural facts have enormous consequences on local economic development.2 Mayor as CEO 1/12/2012
  • 3. The Challenge  The city’s limited authority to make effective policy reinforces the parochialism of its leaders; this in turn, reinforces the city’s subordinate status.  States not cities are constitutionally protected “local” governments.  A strong mayor’s office is a potential instrument for democratic self-government if it can amass power on behalf of the city and its citizens.  A number of cities have recently revised their “weak mayor” municipal charters by providing veto power, and increasing power over appointments, and in some cases eliminating the city manager in order to overcome the problem of accountability and closed government.3 Mayor as CEO 1/12/2012
  • 4. The Strong Mayor Movement  Most citizens do not understand that their cities and their leaders are three levels down the political food chain and depend on the state for any power they want to exercise.  For early 20th Century reformers the strong mayor was too democratic; reformed-minded elites feared a municipal government that was too responsive to urban and ethnic masses  Many examples of citizen voice weakening continues today where voting districts are replaced by at-large council elections, neighborhood councils deemphasized or eliminated altogether for city-wide neighborhood coalitions leaving citizens wondering who is in charge and who has specific authority to listen to their concerns and authority to act on their concerns.  Recent adoption of supermajority requirement for city charter change is an obvious attempt to maintain the status quo and keep citizen voice in check4 Mayor as CEO 1/12/2012
  • 5. What is Driving This Reform?  Community rank and file and engaged citizens are now beginning to support this movement for mayor empowerment because they see it could provide the now missing direct accountability and transparency while serving as a potential site for significant citizen engagement, involvement and new political energy  A weak or nonexistent mayor’s office means that executive power is fragmented, either among council members, between the council and the city manager, or among the council and other administrative officials who also exercise executive power.  Many citizens just have the perception of city governance, as attempted management by a powerless committee, and that this ineffective organizational structure, is outdated and in need of serious repair (restructuring)5 Mayor as CEO 1/12/2012
  • 6. Current Structure Dominated by Elites?  Some citizens see the downtown business community and media elites as controlling the governing process.  Others believe the real-estate and bank’s growth machine coalitions of land base elites, in their quest to expand personal wealth, as the primary controlling special interest force.  Most political scientists accept the privileged position of business in any growth strategy as long as they do not undermine the common good  More and more downtown interests that previously favored council-manager weak mayor structure now are significant supporters of strong mayor reforms6 Mayor as CEO 1/12/2012
  • 7. Many Mayors are Circumventing Council-Manager Charters  Many self empowering mayors are taking the neoconservative position with emphasis on public safety, creating a pro business climate, the streamlining of city services, avoiding new taxes and employing the rhetoric of competition.  Here best practices replace policy, entrepreneurship replaces an emphasis on administration; managerial leadership replaces governing.  Michael Bloomberg calls this the managerial mayor.7 Mayor as CEO 1/12/2012
  • 8. Needed - A Popular Dissatisfaction with the Status Quo  For reform to happen necessary coalitions must coalesce around a popular dissatisfaction with elected officials attempting to operate within a poor performing and inadequate government structure lacking executive leadership.  We have to remember that city charter reforms have always been political instrument for meaningful change, charters are relatively easy to amend, at the very least in a piecemeal fashion  The Oregon Constitution is unique among all 50 states in the delegating to local municipalities the authority to modify and set the form of local government without state interference8 Mayor as CEO 1/12/2012
  • 9. Mayor - Change Agent or Guardian of the Status Quo?  Who comes to the mayor’s office? What offices does the mayor visit? How does the mayor engage the business shakers and movers? How is he featured in the local media? Do the citizen see the mayor as holding a full time leadership position as a change agent representing them and doing battle for their needs and concerns or as a guardian of the status quo and elite interests?  The mayor needs to be the driving force for charter change by utilizing the Oregon Constitutional Amendment on City Charter modification to restructure the form of local government necessary to meet the new challenge of interaction and influence in the global marketplace for recruiting capital investment and job creation.9 Mayor as CEO 1/12/2012
  • 10. Hard Cold Fact - Mayors have Little Influence over City’s Economic Fate  Cities are primarily responsibility for the basic health, safety, and welfare needs of the populace, states and federal officials can pick and choose when and under what circumstances to intervene  Look at the consequences of state delegation to our regional metro government as it relates to growth, economic planning and regulations over the next 50 years…ouch!  Cities have significant responsibilities without adequate resources to meet them and most see the obvious unfairness of this chronic condition10 Mayor as CEO 1/12/2012
  • 11. Where will the Cities Find the Necessary Resources?  To address concentrated poverty, failing schools, high crime rate. gangs, declining industrial job base, home foreclosures, childhood hunger, homelessness, high unemployment, returning veterans to this poor economic environment, and all of this stresses city dwindling finances due to increasing social services.  Where and who are the best sources for a economic turnaround? Could restructuring the local executive function (the office of mayor) directly address this dilemma of shrinking resources? What is the bottom line of city leadership?  No child left behind, Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, climate change, runaway global population growth are some examples of how prepared are we as cities to deal with these crisis11 Mayor as CEO 1/12/2012
  • 12. The Challenge of Mobile Capital Investment  The welfare of its citizens is primarily dependent on private investment, employment, production, as mobile capital investment and labor move back and forth across city lines  Cities must find new leadership models to engage and influence inward capital flow and investment  Cities must recognize cross-border competition and restructure themselves to meet this new reality  Successful companies know that when push comes to shove and you are competing for your very survival, you put your chief executive on a plane who has the authority and leadership to close the deal without subordinate barriers or interference12 Mayor as CEO 1/12/2012
  • 13. Mayor as Chief Executive  Altering the existing interaction and influence relationship between the city, state and federal governments by modifying local city charters is the first and maybe most powerful step in empowering the executive role of the city mayor.  Many who want to see the citizen community engaged and involved in governance see the city as the most ideal hands on site for the pursuit of the democratic political life, especially with the inclusion of the “on-line internet two-way communication process” here the mayor’s office has the potential of leading and utilizing this 21st Century tool for citizen input and feedback.13 Mayor as CEO 1/12/2012
  • 14. Business Unit Concept and Potential Impact on Governance  The executive mayor as a single official who cannot pass the buck.  The executive mayor interacting and influencing leadership generating a collective feeling of ownership and belonging successfully articulating a city’s civic identity.  The executive mayor’s articulation of the city’s interests by a single official is critical to cities which are experiencing today the most significant gaps between resources and responsibilities.  The executive mayor’s now unique position as voice of the city is in the best position to lead charter reform and market the concept of strong-mayor council and it’s positive benefits.  The executive mayor will have the eyes and ears of the investment capital community who will be much more willing to deal and interact with the local community’s business representative and capital and human resource leader.14 Mayor as CEO 1/12/2012
  • 15. Mayor as “Business Unit Manager” and “Chief Lobbyist.”  Full time position is akin to being president of the chamber of commerce, chief lobbyist and business unit manager, assuming all marketing authority as community business representative and capital investment recruiter.  This new functional role is similar to very successful business unit managers found in many business corporations today. The difference with the new municipal mayor is invested capital rather than profit being the new bottom line  The mayor’s enhanced presence in the region and global marketplace would take on major importance as mobilizer of capital and human resources to drive economic development15 Mayor as CEO 1/12/2012
  • 16. Conclusion  The Charter Review Committee recommendations could suggest adding now many of these executive powers incrementally to the mayor’s duties and the city voters following an educational campaign which clearly defines the weaknesses of the current form of government and the obvious merits of strong mayor executive leadership would approve these charter changes.  Citizens are waking up to the fact that a serious governance structural problem exist at the local level which directly affects their current and future quality of life.  The mayor now contends most directly with citizens dissatisfaction with government failures even if those failures are entirely outside his control.  We need for the citizens and city’s common good to return executive power back to the office of mayor.  In every crisis there is opportunity let us not miss this one!16 Mayor as CEO 1/12/2012