For Policy not Poses

Council-manager in the home stretch


Josh Cohen’s position on on “council-manager” is now that he will hire a certified professional city manager, but have him or her answerable to the mayor, not the council as a whole. What seems to have been overlooked in the talk about change is that we already have that arrangement with the current administration: like him or not, Mr. Agee is ICMA-certified. See

Also overlooked is that the goal is not only to ensure competent management, but also to insulate operational management from political interference by one elected official. It is all too easy for a single elected official to use operational control to reward supporters and penalize opponents, but it’s quite a bit harder for a majority of the council to line up that way.

Mayors are elected for leadership, vision, charisma, things like that, and it’s only blind luck electing one with any management ability. What makes us think we will be so lucky in the next election or any other election? If the past eight years didn’t convince us of the need for an operational manager separate from the mayor, I would have thought that the Zina Pierre story would have. Here was a candidate with everything one needed to be elected — vision, charisma, presence, eloquence, etc. Several of my own supporters predicted that she would win because she came across as the most mayoral of all of us. And the truth is she might have made a very good mayor, but perhaps she wouldn’t have been a very good operational manager.


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