Council-manager form would provide stability | Letters | April 24
April 24, 2009 · 8:59 AM
I grew up in a small town in Connecticut with a population of approximately 30,000 that in many ways was a community similar to Bainbridge. It had (and has) a council-manager form of government and my father spent over 15 years on the council and served several turns as mayor.
I lived firsthand this form of government as our home was often the center of informal planning sessions, political gatherings and election-night functions. Family dinners regularly included discussing the issues of the day facing our city.
The city manager was a professional administrator with a graduate degree in public administration who was a master at efficiently running the city. But perhaps his best skill was managing the competing philosophies and personalities of the members of the city council (unlike Bainbridge, the council members had a party affiliation).
During the years my father was dedicated to public service, council members came and went subject to the will of the voters. But the city manager remained a constant and brought accountability and consistency to city government.
Bainbridge voters have an opportunity next week to choose a new form of government that can bring us the qualities of professionalism, accountability, and consistency we crave and deserve. Over the last 15 years, I have lived in this wonderful community and have watched a series of ineffective mayors unsuccessfully manage our government and attempt to blame it on council.
Over the last seven years, our mayor has sought to cover up her inadequacies by utilizing an unending series of consultants, which has contributed to the financial distress in which we currently find ourselves. Although we have a dedicated council committed to public service, I do not believe any of them (or any other interested citizens) have the combination of education, experience and temperament necessary to competently run our city, given the complexity of modern local government and our current financial condition.
A competent and qualified city manager not only will bring professional management, accountability and credibility to our government, but also should be able to bring bickering council members together by helping them understand the importance of cooperation, compromise and the consequences of political pandering and self-interest.
Daniel P. Mallove