Sanduskians for Mayor/Ward
"A mayor form and ward system basically provides more direct participation from the citizens. The government becomes more proactive, more goal-oriented, because there's basically a voter referendum every four years on the city's leadership." - Kevin Zeiher
"The ward system identifies a person with a particular area of town, and he'll be more responsible to those people in that area." - Dannie Edmon
This election is long in the past. The site remains for others to use for research or to learn what can happen in their own fight for change.
It was defeated. 55% to 45%. The City sent a letter out with the charter change to all the voters urging them NOT to vote for the charter change:
"...As your duly elected city Commissioners, we are not in favor of these proposed amendments that will bring partisan politics into our local government and have unanimously stated our opposition to their passage.
"These proposed amendments would result in detrimental changes to our current form of local government. The proposed amendments, if approved by the voters, will result in the creation of six (6) wards in the City whose voters will only be able to elect one City Commissioner out of the six (6). Under our current City Charter all City voters vote for and elect all seven (7) of the members of the City Commission.
"There are many other harmful impacts these proposed amendments would cause. The determination of these amendments falls solely to you the voters of the City. The City Commission is legally required to present a copy to you and this should not be interpreted as an endorsement or support.
"PLEASE VOTE NO ON ISSUE #23"
It was signed by all but one of the commissioners. Illegal? Yes, of course. It was mailed out using our tax dollars. The letter was drafted by our city attorney. The city pays for the best attorneys in the state. And even though this is illegal, there is almost nothing that can be done about this kind of abuse. Since the city was required by law to send a copy of the proposed charter change to all the voters of Sandusky, they are allowed to piggyback a letter like this provided they pay all the costs of printing the letter, etc. About ($100). So as citizens if we take the city to court, all we can do is make them put $100 back into the city treasury. And it doesn't matter that one of the commissioners publicly stated that he disagreed with the letter and that all the commissioners were not in favor of telling all the voters to vote against the charter amendment.
The city has done this before. Then they point out that the taxpayers did not want the charter change since it was voted down.
The City Attorney picked at the charter change and got nice front page coverage. All the letters refuting the front page articles were buried in the paper.
In spite of all that, LOOK AT HOW WELL WE DID! If you are thinking about doing something similar in your town, I suggest that somehow you get a list of every voter and personally call them on the phone. It may be the only way you can get something passed.
Read the comments about the City in the articles by the Sandusky Register (which is clearly against the mayor/ward charter amendment). "The city -- hiding behind the spin of its legal boss Don Icsman -- is trying hard to convince folks that it was doing what was legal and they were holding everybody up to the same standard....Don't believe it for a second......The city -- including Icsman and City Manager Jerry Lechner and Ex officio Mayor Mike Kresser and Development Director Dan Sabolsky -- has been working against this issue since it started because they all would have been out of a job if a mayor got elected." - Todd Franko, editor [The only city employee who would really lose his job is the City Law Director....]
Advantages - What are the advantages of an elected mayor instead of a hired city manager?
Proposed changes - easy to understand basics
The Petition with highlighted changes
Links - Sites on the web about strong mayors and cities with strong mayors [I searched the Internet looking for any studies on this issue. There wasn't much. What I did find supported having a strong mayor.-BFG]
Ohio Mayors - Cities in Ohio with mayors, mayors & manager, manager...looks like the city-manager form is in the minority... This page loads a bit slowly. (Sandusky's web pages have improved but I would only give them a "B" ..)
Barb's Opinion - City Manager vs Mayor , Politics vs No Politics, More on Sandusky's municipal government Exception, ORC & peculiar, What is good city government?, Term Limits
ORC - Ohio Revised Code - Sections of the Ohio Revised Code as is applies to municipalities. Notice that it assumes most municipalities have wards and mayors. Also note that our city charter restates sections of the ORC which it has to follow. Sections have been highlighted and comments added.
Sandusky Register Articles and Letters to the Editor - Links to articles, letters, and editorials in the Sandusky Register pertaining to the Mayor/Ward Charter Amendment Petition
Talking Points - Background - A smooth transition is important. Citizens will elect mayor when current manager retires. This is not and has never been a referendum on any member of the City Commission or Administration. It is the group's position that all members of the City Commission and the Administration have been of great service to the City and its residents. However, the group believes that the citizens of the City should have a right to directly elect the person who ... runs the day to day operations of the City of Sandusky.
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