The Santa Fe City Council will consider tonight whether to put a proposal on the March municipal ballot that would change how the city is governed.
For almost a year, a citizens charter review commission met to consider how better to run the city, with discussion of the mayor’s role one of the biggest debating points. In our minds, the charter commission’s initial proposal handed too much power, with not enough checks, to the mayor. Mind you, there were good reasons even for the initial recommendation. Charter commissioners discovered that there is a revolving door of city managers, as well as an unreasonable expectation of citizens in terms of what the mayor can do. With the current system, the mayor is first among equals, voting only in case of a tie and having little actual power except the bully pulpit. The mayor cannot even fire the city manager he or she chooses; that’s something the council must do. We support checks and balances, but we also know that having a clear line of authority and accountability can mean great efficiency in accomplishing goals and setting policy.
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