Hard sell on city manager backfiredAfter months of pushing for hiring a city manager, a move that would effectively make our elected mayor a figurehead and give all real power to an appointee, The Daily Republic and Mike Vehle were quick to bemoan the low turnout of voters in the June 7 election. Am I the only person to perceive this as being very inconsistent?
By: Ray Borgen, Mitchell
To the Editor:
After months of pushing for hiring a city manager, a move that would effectively make our elected mayor a figurehead and give all real power to an appointee, The Daily Republic and Mike Vehle were quick to bemoan the low turnout of voters in the June 7 election. Am I the only person to perceive this as being very inconsistent?
Supporters of hiring a city manager promised to educate the public, but they just didn’t trust the electorate enough to simply present both sides of the issue and let the voters decide. What they delivered was a “hard sell,” and it backfired because lack of trust seems to be a two-way street.
Of our elected officials, only Mel Olson really listened to all of the voices of his constituency and the general public. He then had the courage to give voice to the concerns of the majority. Now he is the target of public potshots because he did what I believe aldermen are elected to do.
The vast majority of our political establishment threw all of their power behind an issue that received the support of less than 9 percent of Mitchell’s registered voters? Who were these officials representing? Since it certainly wasn’t their constituencies, isn’t this the real question begging an answer?
Since my wife and I moved here in 2004, it appears as if each succeeding council has taken the voting public’s confidence in local government to a new low. All of the recent candidates repeatedly claimed being a good listener as one of their strengths. If the new aldermen actively seek citizen input from all of their constituents and then live up to their promises, maybe we can start to make some real civic progress rather than needing one referendum after another to negate council decisions.
The Focus 2020 Governmental Structures subcommittee recommended that Mitchell adopt campaign finance disclosure requirements. I haven’t heard of any effort by the City Council to follow this recommendation, and I feel transparency in this area of the election process would be a significant benefit to the average citizen. I believe that action in this area is very important. If no council activity is evident within a reasonable period of time, I will begin to believe that the initiative/referendum process is the only way to get full citizen representation in Mitchell.