Doug Smith: A Funny Thing Happened At The Forum ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Doug Smith: A Funny Thing Happened At The Forum

Ward One Resident's Association President Doug Smith kindly provided these notes from last Saturday's forum sponsored by Mayor Moyer on government structure:

Saturday Nov 21, the Mayor Moyer called a public forum to discuss management options for the city of Annapolis. Titled as a discussion of different government structures, with particular focus on legislation recently introduced by Ald. Cordle that would establish the Council-Manager structure, including the hiring of a city manager, reporting to the full city council.

We all know that the Mayor has opposed Council-manager from the start. And the Alderwomen who follow the Mayor’s lead have made public statements opposing any change from the current system. I admit I had concerns that the purpose of the forum was to discredit the idea of council-manager, and to de-rail the pending legislation. It was also puzzling that neither Bill Kardash nor I were invited, nor were others who had spent the last months gathering signatures on the city manager petition.

The Mayor opened the meeting, and encouraged all of us to take home an oak tree sapling (a nice gesture); Moderator Phil Favero did his usual job of leading an objective discussion; two experts on city government gave a objective overview of ‘weak mayor’, ‘strong mayor’ (our current Annapolis structure), and council-manager; and the 20 attendees were broken into 4 groups to discuss a recommended structure for Annapolis.

And then a funny thing happened at the forum. All four groups recommended the council-manager structure. The two city government experts were quite complementary on the Charter Amendment legislation, and even offered suggestions are areas where it might be improved. Not one person stood up to defend the current structure. Alderman Ross Arnett attended the forum – it was too bad the other current and future council members were not present to hear the discussion. When Mr. Favero publishes the results of the forum, I would encourage all Annapolis voters to read the conclusions.

(CP NOTES: This was an odd event and was, as Smith notes, hastily organized and poorly publicized. I got reports that the mayor excused herself from the proceedings and spent the morning in the adjacent hallway. I was also informed that only one attended, Jim Martin of Free State Press, spoke in favor of the mayor of retaining the current structure of government. See my previous post-Boss Ellen Still Cannot Let it Go )


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