What are the Benefits of a City Manager?

February 28, 2007 at 1:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I have to plead ignorance on the mayor vs. city manager debate. I really don’t know much about the city manager position. Why is an unelected bureaucrat expected to be a better leader than an elected mayor? I am willing to be convinced that our current system is broken and that a city manager position should be created, but I have a lot of questions first.

Mayor or city manager? Discuss.

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The Comments

Fletch February 28, 2007 at 3:24pm

I don’t think it’s a bad idea to consider, but not during the election cycle. Camp’s point of a city manager versus a strong mayor is hard to look at, because we haven’t had a strong mayor for quite a while. I think it be worth a look, but not right now.

Angie February 28, 2007 at 4:20pm

Do you suppose Camp wants the job?  Power, that’s what he’s after (along with anything that promotes his interests only.)

Moses February 28, 2007 at 4:52pm

City Manager style is very effective for smaller cities where the mayor and city council are part time and where city bureau heads are not professionals.

The theory is that the City Manager is and efficient non-political professional and is able to survive from one administration to the next.

Lincoln is large enough that the bureau heads should be career professionals who answer directly to the council and a City Manager would be an extra layer.

Perhaps Mr. Camp doesn’t feel that neither he and his fellow councilors nor the various department heads are competent to handle their jobs and need someone to oversee the different bureaus.

Ann February 28, 2007 at 6:26pm

Instead of a city manager, I strongly believe that it would be much more effective to have at least one professional staffperson hired by the city council office.  It is ridiculous that our City Council has only 1 secretary and a receptionist.  As a result, much of the business of constituent relations, problem-solving, and negotiating doesn’t happen, or must happen in a public forum (City Council meetings).  Ever wonder why their meetings are so long?  In the past, the Mayor’s Office provided some of this professional staff assistance to the City Council, but Don Wesely put an end to that a few years ago.  The City Council needs professional staff that can handle the day-to-day issues that they face as part-time representatives, including research, constituent relations, the negotiation of compromises between Council members, between the Council and the Mayor’s Department, between the Council and City Departments, between the Council and developers, etc…

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