Tuesday, September 17, 2013

City Manager quitting? Time for a Strong Mayor system!

Worcester city manager explores job with developer

Manager O'Brien has demonstrated for all to see and reflect on why we need to get rid of the Weak Mayor/Strong Manager form of government.  This unelected official was accustomed to negotiating deals in secret and then getting the Council to rubber-stamp them.  Rarely would they stand up to him, no doubt because to get anything done they had to stay on his good side.

Each time his position came up for review the Councilors would swallow what they were saying in private, heap praise on him and give him top marks to continue.

The last time Councilor Joe O'Brien, who had announced he wasn't running again, spoke some of the truth.  The other ten punted.  Joe had tried being Mayor for a term, but what's the point when the Mayor has so little power?

Now a series of deals Manager Mike made have been rejected, due to public demand and the exposure of the details to debate. He has several times stepped out of his role to advocate for them, clearly in distress, to no avail.  The Hotel TIF deal, the Slots Parlor deal, the Mandatory Foreclosure Mediation ordinance and more, Mike couldn't deliver as promised.

Maybe the Council, which has finally found a backbone, will manage to manage the next Manager next time, and manage to not let the law that says the Manager works for the Council become a fiction again.  That will depend on the active involvement of the public as much as anything.

But maybe this is the time to look at a Charter Revision, so we won't again have a Manager acquire the power to intimidate the Council, rule from behind the scenes and deliver for the developers in secret!

It takes a lot of work and trouble to elect a Mayor to represent the people. A lot of organizing and canvassing by a lot of people went into electing Joe O'Brien Mayor, into convincing the voters it was worth bothering to come out to the polls and vote. When Joe quit as Mayor and now as Councilor, he was telling us we had wasted our time!

This is not what democracy looks like!

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