Kennett considering new form of government - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Kennett considering new form of government; feasibility report released

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KENNETT, MO (KAIT) - Adopting a council-manager form of government in Kennett is a viable option for the city, according to the study commissioned by Kennett residents. 

However, Southeast Missouri State University researchers Dr. Richard Althaus and Dr. Jeremy Walling did not provide a concrete recommendation on whether to continue with the current mayor-council system or to adopt the council-manager system.

"The report provided details regarding each position. The report did not specify or lean one way or the other. I guess their role was to provide the details and then the city could be the judge," said Kennett Mayor Jake Crafton. "Here in Kennett there's a bad taste for an administrator type of government. We've had a couple of administrators that have not been what people want."

According to the report, under the council-manager system, a full-time city manager is the "chief executive official of the city, responsible for directing the day-to-day operations of city government," which means a five or seven-member council would still make policy decisions, but the city manager would have the executive authority to carry out the decisions, something part-time Mayor Crafton says he does not have.

"Sitting in the council room, we come up with plans and thoughts, but there's no real person (to say) 'Okay, here's plan B or plan A. We want you to take it and make it happen.'"

The report said the traditional mayor-council form of government is most common in Missouri, and to adopt a council-manager system requires permission from voters.

Click here to read the complete report.

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KENNETT, MO (KAIT) - The Kennett City Council is considering changing how the city's local government operates.

Long-time Kennett resident John Robertson brought the idea to the city council to change from council/mayor to a council/city manager form of government, he said, after he began attending the council meetings regularly.

"I could see that meeting the first and third Tuesday of the month, and some committee meetings, and part-time mayor, part-time council, we just didn't have anyone who knew all the facts and could coordinate all this money and people," he said. "All our council people, our mayor, our city staff, they all have Kennett's interest at heart. There are no agendas there. They want to see Kennett progress, but under our present form of government, we've outgrown it."

A city manager could replace the part-time mayor to work full-time with council members and Kennett's three department heads and 55 city employees.

Kennett Mayor Jake Crafton supports the idea.

"We're a city of about 11,000 people. We have just about an $8 million budget," he said. "There's no coordination amongst the departments because each council committee controls that department."

 "You have no central role figure that's full-time running a $7 million business."

A study to determine the feasibility of changing Kennett's government is underway.

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