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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Cheyenne, Wyoming The Mayor will lose His/Her Power -- if this happens you will lose the power of a elected official and given to a bureaucrat. You will lose your voice!!

Hey Cheyenne, Wyoming -- if this happens you will lose the power of a elected official and given to a bureaucrat.  You will lose your voice!!


((((((Local Chamber calls for city administrator

Such a move would effectively limit some of the mayor's power.

Under the Chamber's proposed structure, the mayor would remain an elected position and continue to serve as an at-large member of the Cheyenne City Council, where he or she would be responsible for running council meetings.
The remainder of the mayor's duties would be mostly ceremonial in nature: cutting ribbons, issuing proclamations, speaking at public events and the like.
http://www.wyomingnews.com/articles/2015/04/08/news/19local_04-08-15.txt#.VSXBSD90xes
-----------read here whole article ------------------
© Wyoming Tribune Eagle

By Lucas High

CHEYENNE - The Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce is pushing for a major change to the city's governmental structure.

Chamber officials would like to see a city administrator hired.

This new employee would take on many of the day-to-day responsibilities of running the city that currently fall to Mayor Rick Kaysen.

The administrator would be responsible for preparing the city's budget, hiring department heads and personnel, and enforcing the city's rules and regulations.

A move toward a city administrator form of government would effectively limit some of the mayor's power.

Under the Chamber's proposed structure, the mayor would remain an elected position and continue to serve as an at-large member of the Cheyenne City Council, where he or she would be responsible for running council meetings.

The remainder of the mayor's duties would be mostly ceremonial in nature: cutting ribbons, issuing proclamations, speaking at public events and the like.

This structure differs from the city manager form of government that is in place in a number of cities in the region, including Laramie and Casper. Under that form of government, the city manager typically administers all city business, and there is no mayor elected by voters.

Chamber President Dale Steenbergen said he envisions a possible future city administrator in Cheyenne as a person with technical expertise and a wealth of experience running a city.

Robert Schuhmann is a political science professor at the University of Wyoming. Before becoming a professor, he served as a town manager in Chatham, Virginia.

He said a city administrator "is a person who understands fully the range of issues that affect local government. This is what they do. This is their profession."

Mayors elected by voters come from a variety of backgrounds and may not always have experience running a city, he said.

"That's not to say that an elected mayor doesn't understand the issues facing a community ... but (an administrator) typically has much more understanding of technical aspects and nuances of managing a city."

Steenbergen said a city administrator could save taxpayers money by improving efficiencies and streamlining government bureaucracies.

Former City Councilman Patrick Collins is working with the Chamber on the city administrator push.

"I've always thought city manager is a more efficient way of doing business, even during my time on the council," he said.

Steenbergen said a city administrator also would be more responsive to the local business and development community, and more likely than the current administration to reduce costly regulations on new development.

The city faces a "tremendous economic future" if regulations are kept to a minimum, he said.

Hiring a city manager, Steenbergen added, would also "empower city voters," because, unlike a mayor, a city administrator can be fired.

Voters could lobby their City Council representatives to sack a city administrator if they deem him or her ineffective.

"Should the city manager get too far out of line, there is an accountability mechanism in place," Schuhmann said.

There are several ways the city could adopt a city administrator form of government.

First, two-thirds of the council members could vote to unilaterally adopt the new governmental structure.

The Chamber isn't supporting this method.

Collins said the "political reality" is there simply aren't enough council members who would vote in favor of changing the city's form of government without a mandate from voters.

The other option is for the council to pass a resolution calling for a special election. Voters would then have the ability to decide for themselves whether they want to hire a city administrator.

Chamber officials have spent the last several weeks working behind the scenes to encourage council members to call for a special election.

"We at the Chamber like democracy," Steenbergen said. "We want to put this issue into the voters' hands."

He said he believes he has won over seven council members, which is the number required to force a special election.

Councilman Dicky Shanor said he would be willing to sponsor a resolution authorizing a special election.

"I believe it is time that we brought the issue to the ballot and let the voters have a say in their form of municipal government," he said.

Even if the council decides to hold a special election, it is hardly guaranteed that voters will agree to a massive shift in the city's governmental structure.

In the mid-20th century, voters twice rejected proposals to implement a city administrator form of government in the Capital City.

Schuhmann said special elections like the one proposed by the Chamber are "highly variable," and it is hard to predict whether voters would support a change in local government.

Steenbergen allowed that "there is the risk that (city voters) could vote against this."

He said his organization must "make a special effort" to reach out and convince a diverse swath of voters who aren't necessarily active in the business community.

If a city administrator form of government were to be adopted, it wouldn't be the first time the Chamber succeeded in pushing for a structural change in city government.

Last year, after complaints from the business and development community about over-regulation from the municipal government, the council voted to split the city's Planning Department and development office.

Proponents of the move argued that an independent development office will help streamline the city's project approval process and spur economic development.

Steenbergen said this recent success gives him confidence that the council - and ultimately the city's voters - will support a move toward a city administrator.

When asked Tuesday, Kaysen said he isn't surprised by the Chamber's push.

"About every two years, this issue comes up, and it's usually prior to an election year. The conversation (about changing the city's government structure) is not unexpected."

He added, "To me, the most important part of this is for the residents of Cheyenne to have their voices heard through the voting process, whether they favor the current form of government or a city administrator."

If voters support hiring a city administrator, "it would be quite a change in terms of how this city has been governed," Kaysen said. But he would have "no qualms" about working cooperatively with whoever is hired, he added.

A resolution authorizing a special election is expected to come before the council within about a month.
Published on: Tuesday, Apr 07, 2015 - 10:14:17 pm MDT

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