Feedback: City Manager Debate

In our Consider This segment earlier this week we proposed that the city of Jonesboro consider the possibility of converting to a city manager / council form of government. We received quite a bit of feedback, with the majority very much in favor that a healthy debate about the pros and cons of a city manager structure would be a beneficial exercise.

However, we did receive a couple of comments that were opposed to the idea.

Gail Ford of Jonesboro writes..

"My first reaction to your video was "that makes sense", however upon contemplation I choose to disagree. A City Manager form of government is not government at all. Where is the "by the people, for the people"? If a person is hired, and not voted in, that is not government.

I firmly believe that any push to change our form of government is anti-American. Is communism creeping in one idea at a time? Our Constitution guarantees the right to vote for or against who will lead us. The city of Jonesboro is not a business."

Gail, I would disagree, the city of Jonesboro is the largest industry in Region 8 and it takes a person with unique abilities to run that business. And in regards to hiring a city manager, the city council is elected and they are the voice of the citizens, and they have hiring / firing power over the city manager.

And this from Rod Harding...

"As a former resident of a city that tried the City Manager form of government, I have to say I hope your call for consideration of a City Manager is totally ignored. The city I did live in went to a City Manager, and 4 years later voted to return to Mayor by an 8-1 margin. The problem with a City Manager is they tend to be unresponsive to the local people they serve."

Rod, I'm sure there are places where the City Manager structure did not work. I would also say there are many cities where the more traditional Mayor/Council form of government does not work. It all comes down to the individual. My point is that many mayoral candidates do not have the experience or education necessary to run a city. If the city council were to hire a city manager, they would hire someone who has the education and experience necessary to deal with the intricacies of city management.

It is a healthy debate that needs to take place. In fact, it seems like that debate has already begun.