The Republican Town Committee voted unanimously last night to throw its support behind a proposed charter change to create a chief operating officer at City Hall.
Former GOP mayoral contender Ken Johnson, a strong backer of the plan, called the move "a bold statement."
City Councilor Ken Cockayne, a first-term Republican, said that endorsing the controversial measure sends "a strong signal" to the community that the GOP is leading the way for reform of city government.
"Let's get a professional in there who is watchdogging the spending of your money and mine," Johnson said.
Voters will get the last word when they head to polls on November 4.
Both sides of the debate are gearing up for the campaign with signs, mailings, advertisements, websites and more aimed at convincing the public to back, or thwart, the proposal.
The Charter Revision Commission, a bipartisan panel, unanimously endorsed the chief operating officer last spring as a compromise when it appeared that a full-blown city manager wouldn't pass.
But city councilors voted 5-2 to kill the idea, which would normally have been the end of the matter.
Supporters, however, went out and collected more than 3,600 signatures from voters to force the city to put the plan on the ballot.
There's going to be much, much more on this issue in the days and weeks ahead. Those of you who are involved in the effort, please forward me any fact sheets, mailers, website links and the like. I'll post them all on this blog.
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