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Council considering ‘radical’ changes to charter

Proposal would shift to strong mayor/weak manager government

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POSTED: January 15, 2012 8:00 a.m.

About a week after voting to terminate its contract with City Manager Mike Melton, the Richmond Hill City Council is considering eliminating the position from City Hall all together.

During a workshop Thursday at City Hall, city attorney Ray Smith gave a summary presentation to the council of proposed changes to the city’s charter. Those changes include eliminating a mandatory position of city manager, limiting how often one can serve as mayor and more.

“We feel like with the city manager type of government, you have an appointed person making decisions for the city rather than elected officials,” Mayor Harold Fowler said Friday of the proposed charter. “And we feel like elected officials are more in tune with what citizens want.”

The council will hold a first reading on the charter amendments at its next regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall.

No action was taken during the workshop, and with little discussion among the council, it wasn’t clear if all members are onboard with the proposed changes.

“This is a radical change,” council member Russ Carpenter said.

Smith said the biggest change — moving from a “weak mayor/strong manager” form of government to a “strong mayor/no or weak manager” form of government — would basically be a return to the city’s type of government before 2005, when the city manager position was added to the current charter.

“This would allow you to appoint or hire a city manager as you see fit, rather than being stipulated by charter,” Smith said.

Read more in the Jan. 14 edition of the News.

 

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