Marysville News

Charter Review Board

Change would return council-manager form of government

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

In December 2011, Mayor John Gore told ThisWeek Marysville he wanted to change the form of government in Marysville. In a few months, residents will get their say on the idea.

Marysville City Council has scheduled a special meeting Aug. 1 to hear a recommendation from the Charter Review Board to put an amendment to the city charter on the November ballot that would change Marysville's form of government from a mayor-director-council model to that of a council-manager.

The meeting will start at 6 p.m.

Council would have to approve the recommendation at the Aug. 1 meeting in order to meet the Aug. 7 filing deadline for getting issues on the November ballot.

The city once used the council-manager form of government but changed to its current form of having a part-time mayor with a full-time city administrator who reports to the mayor.

Gore believes the change back to the council-manager form will allow for a professional to serve in the city administrator's position. That person would be accountable to council, not the mayor.

"In those years with the part-time mayor, we hired pretty much anybody to be a city administrator," he said. "With all due respect, this requires someone with professional experience."

He said the city did hire a professional to be city administrator when it hired Terry Emery, but that doesn't mean all future administrations will follow suit.

Marysville's current charter calls for the mayor to be elected by popular vote for a four-year term. As the city's chief executive officer, the mayor supervises executive departments and divisions in Marysville. The mayor also serves as the official and ceremonial head of the municipal government "for all applicable purposes and processes."

The proposed charter amendment would give city council the job of selecting one of its members as mayor, to serve a one-year term. The mayor would serve as council president and perform ceremonial duties for the city. Once the mayor is elected, council would then elect a vice-mayor, who would serve as the president pro-tempore of council.

The charter amendment proposes changing the title of director of administration to city manager and requires that the person in that post have executive and administrative experience. The city manager would serve as Marysville's chief executive officer and would supervise executive departments and divisions of the city.

Gore said the proposed changes are all about growth and doing what is right for the community at the right time.

"I saw the government in manager-council form of government. I saw it become a part-time mayor form of government and I think we've grown to the point we need to go back to the manager-council form of government," he said.

Marysville City Council took other steps at its June 27 meeting to change the face of city administration when it voted 5-2 to approve an ordinance setting a salary for a full-time law director. Council Vice President Tracy Richardson and Councilman Henk Berbee voted against it.

Richardson said while she understands the argument for the full-time position, she did not see it in the 2010 strategic plan for the city and is wary of a permanent, recurring cost to the taxpayers. Berbee also was concerned about doubling the salary of the city law director in order to make the position full time.

Gore wanted to get the change approved now so anyone who wishes to seek election to the position in November has time to file nominating petitions with the Union County Board of Elections by the Aug. 7 deadline.

The full-time job starts Jan. 1, 2014, with a base salary of $98,000 and increases by $2,000 each year, ending at $104,000 in 2017.

The law director's salary is currently $45,129 a year and has not been increased since Jan. 1, 2006.

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