Mayoral vs. and City Manager Qualifications

A change in government can only come from a majority vote on a ballot referendum.

After reading the past few weeks of people's opinions regarding our present form of government, I would like to bring out a few points of interest to our citizens of East Providence. A change in government can only come from a majority vote on a ballot referendum. But before the public can vote, the proposed change of government would need to get on the ballot in the first place. That would require a City Council resolution, or a petition from 10 percent of registered voters.

A city manager is usually hired by the council (an elected body) while a strong mayor is directly elected by the people of that city. The two functions are similar...in theory. Mayors tend to be much more cautious due to political considerations.

A city manager must meet the qualifications for the position while a mayor does not.

A city manager must have experience/knowledge along with a college degree, while a mayor does not.

 A city manager who performs poorly on the job can be removed immediately while a mayor will be in office for four years or be removed by a time-consuming and expensive recall.

 A city manager participates in the hiring of management positions after candidates have been screened and deemed qualified, while a mayor can hire friends, family and campaign contributors.

A city manager is chosen by the council, therefore he or she doesn't come into the position with special interests or their own agenda, while a mayor may have special interests/projects/agendas that he or she will push through without considering what it might do to other areas of government, he or she will have their decisions possibly being influenced by campaign contributions.

One thing I know the City of East Providence will be here in five years but at what cost to the taxpayers, I’m not recommending any form of government for I our city, but we need to look into what is best for the community.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Next City Manager March 19, 2012 at 05:07 AM
Could you imagine the problems this city would have if the residents had actually elected Bruce Rogers as a full time mayor form of government. It would take a decade to undo the damage that guy could cause.
Meagan March 19, 2012 at 06:54 AM
Do you have anything positive to say? Ever? Your comment also begs the question; which city do you mean by 'this city' ? Are you talking about your own city in which you reside, or East Providence? (considering you are NOT an EP resident) And if it is in fact the latter; why does it concern you, and why do you spend so much time on this site?
Govstench March 19, 2012 at 12:31 PM
Mayoral vs. and City Manager Qualifications. This says it all. A Manager must be qualified to take that position. A Mayor is elected and his qualifications are vetted by the people. That throws the die of politics into the mix. I can only bring up Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls as prime reasons not to convert to strong mayor form of government. The manager can only recommend changes and proposals to the council. It is there where the decisions and potential damage is done. If the people are not happy with the way the manager is handling their affairs, he can be fired through their councilor on that committee. EP can come back quicker if it retains the manager form of government.
Next City Manager March 19, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Meagan, sorry that my opinions offend you. OK let's talk about something positive in EP.... ... ... ... Well
Meagan March 19, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Hahaha it's ok, I'll deal with it. But you didn't answer any of my questions..
Rags 1 March 19, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Any of the strengths that have had a positive effect in EP has been the City Council/City Manager non-partisan form of govenment. No government is fool-proof and we have made our share of mistakes, but in the aggregate EP has been a leader because of this posture. City Charter needs some tweeking for term limits, at large Mayor, and four year terms to get things accomplished. City Manager form has proven its worth. The voters are responsible for the rest.
Bruce Zarembka March 19, 2012 at 06:51 PM
I think two things that would certainly be worthwhile to look at would be the addition of two at-large council members. More importantly, I feel strongly that there needs to be a recall process added to the city charter. I know this would take a referendum...knowing this would never be something the majority of the city council would agree to, maybe this is the time to see if there is enough voter initiative out there to make it happen!
Joe Botelho March 19, 2012 at 08:13 PM
The positive aspects of the manager/council form government have been well represented here by its proponents. How's that been working for us? As someone who sat on the council for six years I can tell you that theory does not align with actual practice in terms of its perceived superiority. Politics exists no matter what form of government is in place and I suppoose I would rather have it more open and accountable rather than the clandestine atmosphere this type of government promotes. It also allows the city to be much more influenced by a number of special interest groups who operate behind the scenes, which many others in various blog posts have pointed out. In an effort to keep my comments positive however, I will agree with some of the other commentary on the issue relative to voter apathy having alot to do with our current state of affairs. Maybe voting for the ONE in charge would change that.
JJD March 19, 2012 at 11:50 PM
If we have a recall process it must have very specific causes, otherwise we'd be having elections every 6 months.
Govstench March 20, 2012 at 12:17 PM
Joe, one in charge is dangerous. Look at Central Falls - that mayor had close to 180 people working for that little berg - all political appointments. After the receiver got in there, that count is almost half as much. Many people collecting a pay and doing nothing. This would have never happened with there was a manager. The current receiver is strongly recommending a manager form of government for C.F. Just one of many reasons to stay with what works!
JJD March 20, 2012 at 03:11 PM
I agree with Govstench, a City Manager is the best bet for as close to professional government as you'll find. I do think we need a somewhat stronger Mayor though, elected at-large, to provide some needed political and policy leadership.
david sullivan March 20, 2012 at 03:27 PM
With the level of nepotism in this current council, a stronger mayoral form of govt would be a DISASTER. Without a moral,informed,vigilant citizenry the corruption will only continue here. We have 3 council members that are obviously manipulated by other self interested clowns
Rags 1 March 20, 2012 at 07:51 PM
We have an election process. The people through a political process has made a decison and put people in office. I am not defending all of their decisons or political posturing; however, the use of the term corruption without any proof is a serious charge. The law many times is illogical or unequal due to special interests and written by those who make them. Example, justice puts a Wall St. trader in jail for 11 years for "insider trading" but exempts Congressmen from doing the same thing. Hello! There may be a moral obligation and the act doesn't feel right, but that does not mean a criminal act and the use of the term corruption unexplained by facts. Too much of that going on.
JR March 20, 2012 at 08:37 PM
I would add a need for a seven memeber council, with 3 at large. As it is now, we only get to vote on 2 of the 5 council members...so absolutely NO VOICE in the majority of the council.
JR March 20, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Jus a word on "NEPOTISM"...I believe in a blind hiring process, the fact that someone is or is not related to someone else is should be irrelevant! When a person IS hired because of who they are related to, that's wrong! BUT when a person is denied the opportunity to apply for a position they are qualified for just because they are related to someone is EQUALLY WRONG!!!
Govstench March 20, 2012 at 09:15 PM
To all, I keep reading that the Mayor's position should be tied to the at-large chair. You may have a person with leadership qualities far exceeding the person sitting in the at-large seat. It makes more sense to let those elected to the council decide who is best to serve as Mayor who is really only controlling the agenda. I also read that all the seats should be at-large. If you make all the seats at-large, you will have all the candidates running around the city looking for votes. That will discourage some from running. While these are all good suggestions, it's like playing chess - what move is the best one for government? We all want the best for the citizens of this city and this debate only makes it stronger!!
Next City Manager March 21, 2012 at 12:50 AM
You want what's best for the city. I say a receiver is what is best. Toss all union contracts and start over, no hard feelings toward any union member. Read them, it's destroying the solvency of the city.
Joe Botelho March 21, 2012 at 01:01 PM
In an effort to unearth some logic promoting one system of government over another, I conducted some research to uncover a trend. The Wall Street Journal recently released its list of the ten best and worst run cities in America. I looked at the 10 best cities and researched their systems of government and this was what I found. Plano, Texas - Mayor/Council/Manager- 7 member council, all elected at-large Chandler Arizona- Council/Manager- 7 member council, all elected at-large Scottsdale, Arizona- Council/Manager- 7 member council, all elected at-large Seattle, Washington- Mayor/Council/Manager- 9 member council, all elected at-large. Chesapeake, VA- Council/Manager- 9 member council, all elected at-large Lincoln, Nebraska- Strong Mayor Fremont, CA- Council/Manager- 5 member council, all elected at-large Madison, Wisconson- Strong Mayor Irvine, CA- Council/Manager- 5 member council, all elected at-large Virginia Beach, VA- Council/Manager- 11 member council, 4 at-large. So there is a clear trend that the best run cities have council manager form of governement with nearly all of them electing the council members at-large. In most of these cities, thecouncil members have 4 year terms and the Mayor is directly elected with a 2 year term. For more information regarding each of these municiplaities go to: http://247wallst.com/2012/01/05/best-and-worst-run-cities-in-america/
Next City Manager March 22, 2012 at 08:24 PM
What happens if you go to a 7 member council and 3 of the 7 members are on the tow list, lol
lady blyth September 18, 2012 at 05:15 PM
I want to know if it is possible to petition and elected councilman out.


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