Pepper Pike City Government 101, Lesson 2: "Strong Mayor"

As a resident and as a candidate, I've heard people over the years talk about concerns that the Pepper Pike City Council was just a rubber stamp for whatever the mayor wanted to do.  It was usually said in a very pejorative way, as though someone was standing on their necks forcing them to align with the mayor.

I'll get back to this idea of council as a rubber stamp in another post at another time (and I will, I promise), but what every Pepper Pike resident should know, which I didn't know until after I was elected and had a more than two hour meeting with the city law director, at my request, in order to learn about the law and the city, was that our charter gives voice to what is called the strong mayor form of mayor-council government.  While whomever is the mayor might interpret his or her charter-given authority in different ways from a predecessor, the reality is that this strong mayor structure is legitimate, it is used by other communities and it would exist regardless of who actually was the mayor of Pepper Pike.

I think it is critical to understand from where the distribution of power and responsibilities derives because understanding it helps you understand the range of what to expect from which elected officials and city personnel. It also helps us separate the person from the job, which, if we're going to be honest, sincere and responsible, is the least we can do when analyzing how our government - and the individuals who are in it - function.

Other resources on this topic that I would urge people to read (this is an enormous topic so this isn't even the tip of the iceberg):

From the Columbus Dispatch: Leadership choice: Mayor or city manager?

Summary of Advantages and Disadvantages of Municipal Forms of Government

Strong Mayor-Council Institute


Anonymous said...

I just wonder who's keeping this "Strong Mayor" accountable for his decisions. His decisions have bankrupted the city. It would be great for someone to stand up to him and question his leadership. Will you be the first to do it???

Jill said...

R -

This blog will not become a referendum on any one individual (other than me since I'm its author) and this post is not about any one mayor. This blog also is not a place to lob accusations that have no basis in reality (i.e., our city is bankrupt; the city is not bankrupt).

In the comments guidelines, I specifically state,

"I've never found name-calling, personal attacks, insults or threats to constitute useful discourse. If you choose to veer into that territory, please be aware that your comment may be moderated and I will contact you via email."

R, I'm leaving your comment intact but re-stating my commitment to the comment guidelines. I do not want to edit people's comments or discourage discourse, but I'm also not going to make this effort at writing about my experience and city council a flame-throwing circus.

Now, accountability is a great concept to discuss. Why don't you comment on what that means to you in the context of our charter and specific form of municipal government?

Feel free to write me via email if there's more you want to express that you suspect I'll delete because it violates the comment guidelines.