July 1, 2008

Manager versus mayor...

It's interesting that New London is considering a shift in its political system to make its mayor stronger instead of relying so much on a professional manager.
Sometimes it appears that what people really want is something different than what they have, in the hope that maybe somehow it will be better.

Update: According to the New London Day, city voters in New London voted by more than a 60-40 margin in 2007 to drop their city manager in favor of a strong mayor form of government.
It described teh new mayor position there as putting someone at the helm "who would set policy, possess a veto over a seven-member council and appoint and fire department heads.
"The mayor, who would appoint a chief of staff, would serve a four-year term, while council members would continue to serve two years."
Voters are getting another chance because turnout wasn't big enough last time to meet a mandatory threshold for change.

*******
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

key points from New London that should be considered here- chief of staff (assuming one is qualified and its not just a patronage position) and 4 year term for mayor.

Running the mayor's office on a secretary's back is completely archaic.

Tim Gamache said...

Found the last sentence interesting.New London appears to have language in their charter that requires a certain percentage of votes to validate a change to the Charter.One of the arguments against having the possible change to a COO/Mayor arrangement is that not enough voters actually answer the questions on the ballot.Maybe requiring a certain percentage of voters to answer the questions on the ballot to validate a change might get more voters doing just that.If only a small number of voters respond to the questions,this is not a true representation of the publics opinion.Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

I hope that the New London situation is thoroughly explored and researched before the Bristol voters have to possibly make a decision. Steve, I can't thank you enough for bringing this issue to the forefront. This is exactly why we need a local newspaper. I find it hard to believe that a person of Craig Minor's stature was not following the action in New London before trying to force feed Bristol's residents. Thanks Steve for being the fact checker on this issue.

Anonymous said...

The four year term for Mayor in Bristol has been proposed in past charter revisions however, it has fallen on deaf ears. I think a four year term for Mayor is a great idea. Also, the Mayor should be allowed to have numerous administrative asst. to help him run government.

Anonymous said...

7:42 beat me to the punch. I agree that a key difference is the proposal to have a chief of staff, which in effect would be the COO.

Anonymous said...

Manager vs. Mayor - will this be a steel cage death match?

Anonymous said...

Are you saying that Mary is carrying Art?

Odin said...

New London is flirting with the strong mayor because they don't like the way things are right now (crime, weak economy, etc.). If they had a strong mayor now, they would probably be flirting with changing to city manager. I'm not convinced this is relevant to Bristol.

Anonymous said...

YUK !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Apples and Tomatoes ...

There is really no comparison between New London and Bristol .

Anonymous said...

July 2, 2008 7:15 PM;

There isn't? Why not?

Hartford did the same thing a few years back. However I can't help but think that unions (with the Dumb-o-crats in their hip pocket) didn't support the effort.

Anonymous said...

Neither system will work when it becomes politically driven, and that is the direction Bristol is going.

Anonymous said...

Odumb:

You finally made a good point. Congratulations.

Anonymous said...

As far as Bristol is concerned, I think the larger issue is whether this current "petition" effort will open up pandora's box for us to become like California. That is, government is limited by special interest control over governance as a result of "initiative" and "petition" style resolutions. Special interest groups typically control these issues and thus you have governance by these special interest groups instead of governance by a representative democracy. In a representative democracy you hope to elect a cross section of the populace whereby issues are reviewed on a more broad basis. My concern is what we wish for is not really what we want. If we really want a town manager I believe we should use the existing structure to convince the councilman to change the charter accordingly. If one cannot convince the current councilman of the merits then you vote them out or give them more information to make an appropriate decision if that is the will of all the people. I do believe we are going down a slippery slope when we govern by "petition and initiative" While it is great to see so many involved in such a process I think their efforts might be better suited in articulating why their idea is better than the status quo- to date that case has not been made in my opinion.

Spartan53

Anonymous said...

Remember that this this COO issue is not being proposed because it is a good idea for Bristol. No one has yet had a forumn or presented any specific facts as to why we absolutely need the change in Bristol. It is the opinion of a few individuals who wish to overthrow the present administration because they cannot stand the fact that Art Ward is Mayor. It is a "sour grapes" proposal because a few indivuduals did not get there own way and refuse to just move on to the next issue. Local government is being slowed down on purpose because a few individuals think they are more intelligent then everyone else and choose to throw a "hissy fit" whenever they do not get their way. Government runs fine when you let it.

Anonymous said...

I think you hit the nail on the head 9:52. If they spent as much time working on the City as they do trying to sabotage Ward's efforts, we'd all be much better off!

Anonymous said...

9:52

Get with the program.

The Charter Revision was in place BEFORE Art became Mayor, BEFORE he was the nominee.

Right from the start, the idea of a City or Town Manager was on the table.

SO don't be paranoid and think it is all anti-ward.

Anonymous said...

2:29 ~

It may have been started earlier, but the 3 stooges have made it a personal vendetta. Very sad indeed!

Anonymous said...

Actually this is a plus for Ward.

He gets to keep his $110,000/yr job, with raises, and doesn't have to do much work other than put out press releases and attend ceremonial functions.

Ward should thank Furey, Nicastro and all of them.

Anonymous said...

12:41 - exactly what we are referring to - neither fury, nicastro, minor or cockayne supported ward's election for mayor and none of them has supported him in his term in office.
fury's actions as the self-appointed tsar of charter revision produced nothing but this pokitical chaos, cockayne is on his owm political junket and nicastro has been a back stabbing egomaniac trying to further his own politically motivated taxpayer funded retirement chest.
I challenge you to come up with anything that either of them has done to help our city this year other than to create negative vibes for the community.
reelect nicastro and no one can say that I didn't warn you.

Anonymous said...

7:06am - Your conspiracy theory very conveniently overlooks: (1) the fact that every councilman and the mayor got to appoint one member to the commission; (2) that Ward approved the selection of Furey as chairman of the commission; and (3) that the final report recommending the COO was the UNANIMOUS position of all seven members of the commission - the democrats, the republicans, the politicians, young, old, men, women, self-employed, government employee, private sector...EVERYBODY on the commission. They had NOTHING to gain from this recommendation, but after researching it extremely thoroughly and NUMEROUS open meetings and public hearings, they decided that it was best for Bristol. Stop trying to malign these honorable men and women, and instead try to find rational reasons to oppose the COO - if you can!

Anonymous said...

mr. johnson - furey's selection as chairperson was approved by the members of the charter revision committee, not the city council or ward for that matter.

Anonymous said...

July 7, 2008 10:12 PM - Don't be naive. Furey would not have been allowed to be chairman if the council and/or Ward objected.