Sanduskians for Mayor/Ward
City Manager vs Mayor
a. This isn't the same place it was 100 years ago. Times have changed. Sandusky has grown. Sandusky has a sizable minority population who don't feel they are being represented very well at City Hall. Since the city manager is "insulated" from the public because he does not have to run for office, he can ignore much of the public. As long as he satisfies the white majority who elect most of the commissioners, his job is secure.
b. Public relations is an important function of the city that currently is not being handled very well. Being good at public relations is part of becoming a mayor. Because a city manager gets hired by the Commission, he never has to prove his ability with the public to get the job.
c. I thought for a while that it might be better just to "fix" our current system. After reading about this issue, I no longer think that it is possible to do so. While hiring a really good city manager would fix a great deal, there are too many pitfalls with the current system. A city manager does not have the backing of the public to make changes. His job is at the mercy of the City Commission.
d. There are communities where the City Manager system would probably work as well or better than the mayoral system. But those communities are more homogeneous than Sandusky. We need to have a community leader heading the city. Having better leadership is the biggest advantage of having a mayor instead of a city manager.
e. If the Commission makes a bad choice when they hire the city manager, it is much more difficult to get rid of him than a mayor. Yeah, yeah, I know - the commission can fire a city manager - that's got to be quicker and easier than getting rid of a mayor. No, not really. The city manager that our commission did "get rid of" wasn't fired. He resigned and was paid well to do so. What did it take to get rid of him? Term limits and different commissioners. The residents of Sandusky cannot fire a bad city manager. They are stuck with him until they can either elect different commissioners or pressure the current ones into action. Most people have a very difficult time firing someone. It is very difficult to convince a majority of the commission to take action against a lousy employee. Most of the commissioners may never have been in the position of having to decide to fire someone before. A mayor can be voted out or recalled - and we don't have to pay him well to get rid of him.
f. Who got the bright idea that the city manager has to have a degree in city management? Sounds good on paper. The reality is it is a very bad idea. The pool of qualified people with degrees in city management is small. The number of people in our area with city management degrees is almost non-existent. When we hire someone from another area to run our city, we are hiring someone who may know nothing about Ohio. We expect him to move into our community and immediately be loyal to our area. It is more likely that he views our community as a stepping stone to an even better job. Someone with experience in running a business and is from our area would be more loyal to the community, have more knowledge about our area, and could do a better job of running the city. It really makes no sense that someone with a doctorate degree in business and 25 years experience of running a large corporation would be considered unqualified to be Sandusky's city manager because he lacked a degree in city management.
It makes much more sense to elect the top administrator of the city and hire an assistant with a degree in government.....
g. But couldn't we elect a mayor with poor qualifications? Yes, we could but I give the citizens of Sandusky more credit than that.
h. But the Sandusky Register reported that most communities are switching to a city manager system. - Not exactly so - according to Dr. Rob Alexander, Ph.D. of Bowling Green State University - "the clear trend over the last decade and even since the late 1980s has been a movement toward more Mayor forms of government."
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