Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Why the City Manager idea is bad for Aurora.

Hiram has some stuff about how the solution to pay-to-play in Aurora is Stephanie Kifowit's suggestion that Aurora goes to a city manager system like Naperville.  I am not going to comment on some of Hiram's arguments or logic since he said his is going to have a second post about why and I figured I would wait for that before I addressed his post.

Also let me start with the fact I think Stephanie would make a better mayor than Weisner and I did provide her with some help (more technical) during her re-election bid for alderman. I wouldn't lose any sleep at night if she won. 

However I think a city manager system of government is a bad idea for Aurora.

Why, Aurora has big city problems (crime, gangs, poverty, development, etc) problems that at the end of the day require an elected official to be responsible to the voters for.  Problems that require someone to run for office to address those problems and be held accountable for addressing those problems.

Putting the solutions to these issues into the hands of alderman who set an agenda with a city manager to implement isn't going to be as effective is creating responsibility and accountability.

I know Naperville had a city manager and it generally works for them. But lets be blunt, Aurora would love to have the sort of major issues that Naperville faces.  They don't have our poverty, housing, gang, drug or violence issues. It's one thing for a city manager system when your big issue is how to manage downtown development when it's all trendy shops and nice restaurants. It's another when you are trying to reduce a murder rate.

Also if I am not mistaken all of Alderman in Naperville are elected at large, something that gives them the flexibility to think of everything in terms of the entire city.  Well Aurora elects two aldermen at large and the rest represent wards.  I don't think the DOJ would let us go to a all at-large system.   It would be a challenge for a city manager to deal with aldermen who were pushing area based agendas that might be very different than what is best for the city as a whole.

More to come....



Maggie Q said...

OneMan: While I see where your logic is coming from; it is technically flawed. To suggest that every other City who has a manager is okay and Aurora is the only city that this form of government would not work simply does not make sense. The City of Elgin and the City of Joliet are similar to Aurora in demographics and they both have a City manager. However, in Elgin they have completely revitalized their downtown without property tax increases. Joliet is debt free, has a professional minor league baseball field and a racetrack. Elgin has council members that are at-large and Joliet has District Elected officials.

There is nothing wrong with Aurora having a manager form of government; it would get rid of the politics as usual.

Anonymous said...

City manager will take much of the politics - both the pay to play and the patronage hiring - out of Aurora.

Maggie Q is on the money too.

The only other city in Illinois without a city manager? Chicago.

Anonymous said...

A city manager would be amazing for Aurora. It would cut out most of the politics and the issues of the may getting campaign funds from people who do business with the city would then be a non-issue. Additionally, City Manager system would probably save us money as we already have the mayor and his 3-4 chief of staff's who work for him. With the city manager, we could have one city manager and one or two assistant city managers and could get rid of all of those political positions.

Anonymous said...

As long as there are Demonrats & Rino's it a city manager won't work.

It is hard enough with the Demorats & Rinos we have with a Mayoral form.

The best thing would for the city to go to a partisan mayoral form & get rid of all of this non-partisan crap.