Council-Manager Petition Update ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Council-Manager Petition Update

The following is a news release from:

Annapolitans for a Better Community
111 Annapolis StreetAnnapolis, MD  21401

City Manager Petition Drive – Progress and Plans  

For the past six months, Annapolitans for a Better Community (“ABC”), a non-partisan volunteer organization, has been working to bring the Council-Manager form of government to Annapolis.

We are working toward the goal of 5,000 signed petitions – and are pleased to report that, thanks to the overwhelming support from the voters, we are 75% of the way there – a clear message from Annapolitans that we need to make a change in the structure of our government.  It is not likely that we will close the gap in time for the fall election due to balloting deadlines. However, we are continuing the petition drive and pleased to see the new candidates for alderman are lining up in support of council-manager form of government.

Let’s first recap the positions of the current candidates:

FOR City Manager                                       OPPOSE City Manager
Reporting to City Council                            Reporting to City Council

. Chris Fox (I- Mayor)                                          . Josh Cohen (D-Mayor)*
                                                                          . David Cordle (R-Mayor)*

. Richard Israel (D- Ward 1                                   . Fred Paone (R-Ward 2)             
. Scott Bowling (R-Ward 3)                                   . Classie Hoyle (D-Ward 3)
                                                                           . Sheila Finlayson (D-Ward 4)
. Mat Silverman (D- Ward 5)                           
. Jim Conley (R-Ward 5)
. Greg Stiverson (R- Ward 6)                                . Kenny Kirby (D- Ward 6)
. Ian Pfeiffer (D-Ward 7)
. Jennifer Monteith (R-Ward 7)                                         
. Ross Arnett (D-Ward 8)                                                       
. Rockford Toews (R-Ward 8)

* Both J. Cohen and D. Cordle have agreed to hire a professional manager, but still reporting to the mayor.

This demonstrates City Manager is truly a non-partisan issue – candidates from both parties embrace it. In the coming weeks, we need to continue the petition drive so we can be prepared to go to a special election early in 2010 if needed.

The Primary Election was a wake-up call to many people as they could now appreciate the very real benefits of having a non-political professional “minding the store” while all the political drama is taking place.  It is becoming very apparent the City will be facing serious financial issues in the months ahead – wouldn’t it be helpful if the City Manager were already at work looking for ways to trim the budget?  This is a key benefit of hiring a city manager based on professional skill and experience. We believe a city manager would be one of the most important positive changes we can bring to Annapolis.

We very much appreciate the work of so many volunteers who have gone door-to-door, and the many contributions to help cover costs.  If you are a registered voter and have NOT signed a petition, please join with us to bring good government to Annapolis. For more information visit: To request a petition, send email to

For more information contact: 
Bill Kardash (443-994-5706) or
Doug Smith (410-279-8603)

Join with local politicos every Thursday morning, from 8-9 am for our Sip N' Blogs normally at ZU Coffee, 934 Bay Ridge Road, Annapolis, Maryland, in the Giant Shopping Center. Special guests will be:
Oct 1--James Conley, Ward 5
Oct 8--Mat Silverman, Ward 5
Oct. 15--Josh Cohen
Oct 22--Chris Fox at Sly Pub
Oct 29--Dave Cordle
Stop by on your way to work for your morning latte and meet other local activists. Zu now has a drive-thru window! LISTEN TO CP ON 1430WNAV every weekday morning for insights into local issues and politics.


tlh said...


Please let me explain to you how the American Electoral System works -

You see we have these things called "Political Parties". They support Candidates who are Members of said "Party" and these "Candidates" then run for office and then the electorate as a whole - gets to decide who they want to vote for to represent them in said "political" office.

If this electorate later decides that they think that the elected "political" official is Not doing a good job - the voters then have the right to elect Another person to said office in the Next scheduled election.

Paul, this is what is known to many as "Representative Democracy".

Paul Foer said...

Let me explain to you about how the council-manager form of government works day in and day for tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of Americans. You see we have these things called city councils and they are elected to create policy, vote on budgets and decide the overall course of action for how to run the government. But, for the most part, not being real managers, they hire professionals to work at their pleasure to actually carry out their mandates--much like the American corporate model with their boards and CEO's.

If the council decides the manager is not doing a good job, they can fire that person.

Tim, this is what is known as proper management in a representative democracy. Thanks for the opportunity to make this clear.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Foer,

Unfortunately, your analogy between boards and city councils is incongruous. Boards are made up of individuals elected by a corporation's shareholders to oversee the management of the corporation, while the chief executive officer is responsible for a company's operations [] and possesses the chief decision-making authority in an organization or business. [Merriam-Webster Dictionary] The CEO reports to the board.

On the other hand, a city council is the legislative body charged with making laws, levying and collecting taxes, and making financial appropriations, and whose decision-making authority is balanced with a mayor, an individual elected to serve as chief executive of a town. [more from Merriam-Webster]

Bottom line, a mayor is elected to serve as the "chief decision maker," similar to a CEO in a corporation. If a city manager is hired and reports to the council, the mayor's authority is bypassed and the balance of power between the city council and mayor is disrupted. That weakens democracy. It is interesting to note that the individuals who ran for mayor in the primary and opposed a city manager approach--Mr. Cohen, Mr. Cordle and Ms. Pierre--all had strong visions on how to run Annapolis, one essential characterstic of an effective CEO/leader. It makes more sense to have a professional city administrator reporting to the mayor, similar to how chief financial officers and chief operating officers report to CEOs. This arrangement maintains a proper chain of command and balance of power needed to protect the interests of constituents.

Rhetoric from Rhonda [Ellis]

Paul Foer said...

I respectfully disagree. My analogy was brief and pointed, mainly to counter that of Tim's brief and pointed analogy. I am not sure how much of a vision Ms Pierre or Mr Cohen have, but to use the same line of thinking, Pierre and Cohen are also the candidates that are the most political and partisan--and with the least amount of management experiences. The candidates who are less political and partisan and who had more management experiences also are those who tend to support the council-manager form of government. All forms of government are flawed and there are pros and cons on each side, but your argument that somehow an unelected manager weakness democracy is absolutely incorrect and you have bought in to the Boss Moyer line, thinking. The all-powerful mayor weakens democracy and weakens council. If you wish to retain the mayor as top dog, then take the mayor off of city council. We can't have it both ways. The council-manager form of gov't works well in many places but please don't use the false argument that it somehow weakens democracy. The last four years here have proven that the current system does a fine job of weakening democracy.

tlh said...

Rhonda Rocks it!

Rhetoric from Rhonda said...

I can not speak to what has gone on during the past four years, but as a point of information, it is not uncommon for the Chairman of the Board to also be the CEO, with the CFO and COO reporting directly to him/her. Thanks.

Paul Foer said...

Why can't you speak to what has gone on here and its relevance?

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