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A Totally New ConceptPosted Saturday, February 4, 2012, at 6:10 PM
Eureka Springs has an opportunity to choose a new form of government. It's an idea that's time may have come, but several changes would have to be made before this new form of government could be successful.
About thirty of us showed up at the Auditorium a few weeks ago to hear what a council-city manager form of government would be like. It was presented by ICMA, International City/County Managers Association. It made sense to me, but then I'm a fairly logical person. I also live outside Eureka Springs' borders.
The city would be divided into four wards instead of three and there would be three "at large" positions also. The four wards would be represented by people who MUST LIVE IN THOSE WARDS. The new system hopefully would discourage people who just want to serve on the council for their personal agendas rather than actually representing a portion of the citizenry. This would be a totally new concept (at least since I've been here).
The city would still have a mayor, but there would be a seven member council which would have all the power and authority to set policy. This governing party would hire a nonpartisan manager who would have very broad authority to run the organization.
Here's the first of several flies in Eureka's ointment. If you vote to change the government in February, you would have to elect a new mayor and seven council members in November. This new council would all need to work together. The town has rarely seen a sitting council that has cooperated with each other or worked with the mayor.
To ensure that these policies are carried out and that the entire community is equitably served, the council body appoints a highly trained professional manager on the basis of his/her education, experience, skills, and abilities
When have you heard your councils taking any advice from anyone, let alone taking suggestions from a knowledgeable entity? It is extremely important that the manager be vetted (scrutinized) carefully. The community does not want to "buy another pig in a poke" as they have in the past. That's why the council needs to use the experience of ICMA to guide them through this process and avoid cronyism.
Finally, the citizens of Eureka Springs will have to trust the NEW council to make a decision on which person to hire for the city manager. Oh man, that oil is full of big green flies.
February 14th is the date to vote and make that decision for change....if you dare.
In a Twist
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I'm Enid. No, not the town in Oklahoma, but a transplant to Eureka Springs from Minneapolis fourteen years ago. I'm a writer, journalist and sometime artist. My real love is expressing my opinions on almost any subject, as you have seen in my many letters to the Editor of The Lovely County Citizen over the years. Now, I'm happy to say that I will be writing a blog titled In a Twist for your amusement, amazement or commiseration. Thanks for giving me a read.