Update From Annapolitans for A Better Community on Council-Manager Proposal ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Update From Annapolitans for A Better Community on Council-Manager Proposal

The following was provided by Bill Kardash and Doug Smith:

Dear Friends of ABC,

During the past week, you may have seen news accounts of our endorsement of Alderman Dave Cordle’s Mayoral Campaign. We thought you would like to know why we have endorsed Dave and the steps that lead to it:

During the past year, we have tried to meet with all candidates for mayor and the city council. This is consistent with our assertion that ABC is a non-partisan effort to bring the Council-Manager form of government to Annapolis through petitioning for a Charter Amendment.

Clearly, not all candidates have favored our efforts. We have previously reported that, among Mayoral Candidates, Josh Cohen (and the (initial) Democratic Primary winner, Zina Pierre), did NOT favor the petition drive for the Charter Amendment. Independent Chris Fox continues to favor the Council-Manager initiative. Dave Cordle initially opposed the Council-Manager petition drive.

As you know, we endorsed Trudy McFall for Mayor in the Democratic Primary. Her consistent message favoring a Council-Manager was the bedrock of her campaign. Among those Democratic candidates, she was our favorite.
After the Democratic Primary, Dave contacted us and suggested that he wanted to “explore” the possibility for him to endorse the Council-Manager initiative. Dave wanted an update from us on the status of the petition drive. From the beginning, he always said “if the voters want this, I will support it”. We agreed to meet and did, in fact, have several discussions with him and his campaign advisors. He was impressed with the number of people who had signed petitions and he felt “the hand-writing is on the wall”. About the same time, Dave met with Trudy McFall to request her support for his candidacy. Trudy told Dave she would only support his candidacy if he fully-endorsed the true Council-Manager form, not any watered-down effort. Apparently, she succeeded. Eventually, Dave, Trudy, Doug Smith and I met several times to discuss any “latitude” we might have in reaching a mutual agreement.

Throughout all of these discussions we were firm that ANY change must not compromise the true Council-Manager form of government. That is, the City Manager can only be hired or fired by a majority vote of the City Council. Still, within in that, some “nuance” language could be included that would recognize the role of the Mayor as the leader of the Council. To that end, if the Mayor found that working with the City Manager was becoming untenable, the Mayor could “recommend” that the City Manager should be called before the Council for a discussion about his/her future. We also added language that allows “any group of four Council Members” to call for a similar action. The bottom line is this: any action will still require a simple majority vote before the City Manager can be fired. We sought – and received – confirmation from the ICMA (International City/County Management Association), that we still meet their criteria for a “Council-Manager government. This is important because it will help us to attract the very best city manager candidates to apply.

Recent news reports have stated that “the Mayor will have a veto over hire/fire the City Manager”. That is incorrect.

Tonight, Monday, October 12, 2009 … Dave intends to introduce CA-09-09 which reflects the Charter Amendment initiative we have supported from the beginning. Whether or not it is voted upon during the final sessions of this Council is uncertain. I am confident there will be some procedural maneuvering to delay. Whatever happens … happens. Regardless, the bill will be introduced, work its way through committee and, at least, be front-and-center when the next Council is seated. The sooner we can get it adopted, the better.

(If you can, attend tonight’s City Council meeting at 7:30 in Council Chambers, City Hall; if you are unable to be there, you can view the proceedings on Verizon Channel 34 or Comcast 99/100).  (CP NOTES--the amendment was introduced, opposed by Boss Ellen but was voted in on First Reader despite her objections)

In the meantime, we are continuing our petition drive so that we can reach the required threshold of “20% of registered voters”. We currently have approximately 3,500 signed petitions. This is our “insurance” just in case the current (or future) Council lacks the will to adopt this. If they resist, we will seek a Special Election. One way or another, we believe we can succeed.

We are encouraged by the broad, non-partisan support that exists for the Council-Manager Charter Amendment, including: Mayor: Dave Cordle (Rep), Chris Fox (Ind);
Aldermen: Dick Israel (D-W1); Scott Bowling (R-W3); Mat Silverman (D-W5); Ian Pfeiffer (D-W7); Jennifer Monteith (R-W7); Greg Stiverson (R-W6), Ross Arnett (D-W8); Rock Toews (R-W8).

In the coming weeks, we will work with Dave Cordle to reach out to you and others who have supported the initiative for a Charter Amendment to allow the Council-Manager form of government. Needless to say, we hope you will support Dave’s mayoral campaign and vote FOR him on November 3rd.

Thanks for your past support and encouragement.

Bill Kardash and Doug Smith
Annapolitans for A Better Community

LISTEN TO CP Publisher Paul Foer on 1430WNAV at 8:15 every weekday morning.
READ CP Publisher Paul Foer's "The Ninth Ward" every Wednesday in The Capital
JOIN US EACH THURSDAY 8-9 am for our Sip N' Blogs normally at ZU Coffee, 934 Bay Ridge Road, Annapolis, Maryland, in the Giant Shopping Center. Oct. 15--Josh Cohen, Oct 22--Chris Fox (at Sly Fox 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-through window!


Paul Richards said...

Any candidate who wants to be Mayor and also wants to have a City Manager certainly doesn't plan to work very hard.

Paul Foer said...

I completely disagree. This will force the mayor and council to really focus on vision, tough issues, policies and direction, but there are many other reasons as well.

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