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Entries in strong mayor (10)


Strong Mayor Returning to Columbia in 2013

From Free Times - Mayor Benjamin and Councilwoman DevineWith the offer of Teresa Wilson as the City of Columbia City Manager interest in Strong Mayor was revived last week.

ColumbiaCents has learned from multiple sources

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Mayor Benjamin on Future of Strong Mayor

I attended CORs (Columbia Opportunity Resource) Table for 6 yesterday where Steve Benjamin was speaking with Columbia's future leaders.

I got cornered Mayor Benjamin while he was heading to the door (Sorry Sam).

My question was, "Is Strong Mayor dead?"

Short answer "No."

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Moe Baddourah "Why I Wouldn't Have Put Strong Mayor on the Ballot"

I spoke with Moe Baddourah Councilman - Elect for District 3 of Columbia City Council about the strong mayor referendum failing in council on Tuesday night. He explained his answer to why strong mayor wasn't quite ready yet to go to referendum.

He was criticized by such notables as Sustainable Midlands



and Brad Warthen

But then I read in Clif LeBlanc’s report this morning, “Baddourah, who replaces Gergel, said he’s had a change of heart and would not support holding a vote this fall.”

Which really blew my mind, because I saw him on local TV news, either last night or the night before, stating his unequivocal support for strong mayor.

Clif needs to do a full, exhaustive, separate story on what in the world just happened there…

Well this isn't a full, exhaustive, story but it is an explanation from Mr. Baddourah himself.

"There was a lot of uncertainity," Moe commented about council.

One of the big issues he mentioned to me over budgeting. He explained that after the budget was approved by Council that the Mayor would have full control over it.

On the subject of vetoing, "By law the Mayor can't veto a council decision." Moe added.

When asked about the flak he had received about his opinion on Mayor - Council. "He hadn't noticed."

Overall I think Councilman-Elect Baddourah like many of the councilman felt the issue was being rushed. He didn't trust that council could get all the leg work done by November so the voters could get a full picture.

He offered as an example that council couldn't reach a decision on trying to move election day from April to November as proof on the complexity of these issues.

Overall I got the impression that council would be willing to consider this issue again. I think they want to see the full picture prior to sending it to the public for vote.

For my full series on Strong Mayor click here.


Strong Mayor = DOA

The potential Strong Mayor referendum wrapped up last night. Eva Moore on her twitter feed called a time of death of 9:03 PM by a 3 to 4 vote.

Myself I'm a little torn on the issue.

One side of me says I think that Columbia would have benefited from the referendum. It would have forced the city to look at efficiency practices and subjected a lot scrutiny and voter accountability into City Government. From just comparing and contrasting Mayor - Council and Council - Manager we would have learned a lot about Columbia.

The other side of me did not look forward to a long drawn out debate over the minutiae of Strong Mayor and the accompanying rhetoric on both sides. It would have dominated City Politics for till November and would have bogged down City Hall where they would have been working on Strong Mayor questions and policy rather than more pressing issues. The referendum would not have been simple as putting on the ballot. The policy study that would be necessary to move to strong mayor would have cost both time and money as well.

Overall I doubt strong mayor would have passed in November. Strong Mayor few very strong supporters especially The State newspaper but overall most people didn't care. I do think that the limited government crowd would have mobilized a November referendum.

One final thought. Both Councilman- Elect Moe Baddourah and Councilman Sam Davis reversed their stance during the meeting. While some would accuse them of flip-flopping I think it was more of a response to those that spoke. I will take the glass is half full approach and view this as an example of council listening to the public. Its just ironic that it came at the expense of letting the public have direct say on their choice of government.


My Letter to Council per Strong Mayor

So work happened. Im not going to be able to attend Coucil tonight. I was planning on addressing council on the Mayor - Council form of government. Instead I shared my thoughts and questions to council via email. I wanted to put it on here for yall to take a look at as well.


Thank you for encouraging and educating the City of Columbia on both the Council - Manager and Mayor - Council forms of government. For the record I am neither supporting or opposing the measure to put Strong Mayor on the ballot for November.
While I naturally favor the consistency of a non elected City Manager I understand many in the city are favoring of electing a true Mayor to lead the city. I am open to this dialog as I believe there is value added in this discussion. Just by addressing this Columbia can identify problems and inefficiencies in the current form of government.
I do believe that if council decides to put Strong mayor to the ballot the City deserves to have a full picture on what they are getting. I believe that the city should be presented the full language on how Strong Mayor would be implemented and not just the overall concept.
The potential charter changes should address the following issues:
Will the Mayor would have any veto authority? Would council have an override? What vote would be required?
What will be the exact Budget flow path to approval? How long would council have to propose changes to the Mayor's Budget? Would the Mayor be able to veto portion of the budget?
I'd also like a clear discussion on the checks and balances of a Strong Mayor, particularly in the appointment of officials. There must be strong measures to combat potential cronyism that sometimes plagues the state. A process needs to be established that allows council to confirm a mayors appointee. I also would like clarification on how transparency will be achieved in the Mayors office.
Finally I am concerned about the ramification of the mayor retaining his vote on council. This seems to dilute the power of council and could complicate council's ability to provide oversight.
I believe all of these can be addressed through an account of a clear, detailed potential amendment to the city charter. The City deserves to see the entire program on what we could be voting for in November. Thank you for the opportunity to voice my thoughts on the Mayor Council change of government.