The current mayor and good-old boy city council do not seem to understand one of the basic underlying principles of a democratic republic: The division of government responsibilities into distinct branches of government in order to prevent the concentration of power, and to provide checks and balances, is a basic tenant of a democracy. The efforts led by the current mayor and council president to rewrite the charter, in order to centralize power into their hands, is nothing more than an authoritarian and autocratic move. Centralizing authority into the hands of a few, thereby making the council in charge of departments, will only lead to self-interest, corruption, cronyism, and rule by elitists and special interest groups. We have seen two recent examples of self-interest and friend-of-the-family consideration on their part: weeds and fire training facility.
I witnessed this scenario in a small Oregon town about 40 years ago. That council didn’t have executive and legislative powers, but they were the businessmen and good-old boys, who liked to think they did. One day, one of the councilmen was speeding down main street at 50 mph. A police officer working radar stopped the councilman and cited him. Angry, the councilman asked, “Don’t you know who I am?!!” The officer knew, but handed him the citation. The next day the Chief of Police was ordered to pull the radar gun from use. He didn’t, but he ordered officers not to use it for a few days. The press found out, the town responded in favor of the PD, and the municipal judge ordered the councilman to pay the full bail. That council was reminded they weren’t the kings of the realm and the miscreant was not re-elected. This mayor and council need reminding.
It is in the public interest that they not be in charge of departments.