LETTER: Professional needed to manage our cityGovernment is complicated business. The city of Mitchell runs a $30 million operation with 175 employees, and an organization that size deserves professional management.
By: State Sen. Mike Vehle, Mitchell, The Daily Republic
Government is complicated business. The city of Mitchell runs a $30 million operation with 175 employees, and an organization that size deserves professional management.
I’m not the only person to think so — nationally, 53 percent of the communities Mitchell’s size have a manager.
In South Dakota, eight of the top 10 largest communities have a full-time executive, leaving only Huron and Mitchell with part-time executives. It’s interesting to note that those two cities, Huron and Mitchell, also have the highest tax levies of the 10 largest cities. Even though those other eight communities pay for full-time executives to administer their city, they still all have lower taxes than Mitchell and Huron.
A well-run city needs both strong political and strong professional leadership. With a city manager form of government, you still have an elected mayor and eight councilpersons in the same four wards, and they still must be responsive to the needs of the voters. The day-to-day administration and management of the city is handled by the city manager, allowing the mayor and council an opportunity to focus on policy and vision for moving the community forward. A city manager must be responsive to the community, or else the council will fire the manager. A mayor can only be replaced every few years, but a manager can be replaced at almost any time.
We all know that a successful $30 million business has to have someone dedicated full-time to its operations, but other governments and nonprofit organizations also use professional managers.
Our school district has both an elected board president and a professional full-time administrator (the superintendent).
Our hospital has both a board and also a professional administrator. It is worth noting that all five of the living former Mitchell mayors agree that we need a city manager. These are people who have sat in the mayor’s chair. They are also independent leaders who haven’t always agreed. Indeed, some of them have even run against one another. Despite all of that, they all agree a city manager is the most efficient and effective move for Mitchell’s future.
Therefore I urge you to join them and vote for a city manager form of city government on Tuesday.