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Jul 17

SCOTT: Differentiating forms of local government

Posted on July 17, 2015 at 11:58 AM by Bridgette Lester

SCOTT: Differentiating forms of local government

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Posted: Thursday, July 16, 2015 8:02 am

Note: This column is the second in a three part series by Danville City Manager Ron Scott on Danville’s form of government, its history and the role of the city manager in it.

In the United States, primarily there are two forms of city government: The mayor-council form and the council-manager form. According to the International City/County Management Association, there are three major features that differentiate the mayor-council and council-manager forms of government.

The first feature is the allocation of authority. The council-manager form places all governmental authority in the hands of the council, with certain functions assigned by law, charter or convention to the manager appointed by the council. Authority is unified in the collective leadership body of the council. To the early reformers citing the practice of English local government, eliminating separation of powers and strengthening the council was as important to the council-manager form as the creation of the manager’s position.

The relationship between the council (or commission) and the manager is based on this allocation of authority. Despite all the words that have been written and spoken about the separation of politics and policy from the administration, the unique feature of the council-manager form is the interaction of council members in both policy and administration. As intended by Richard Child’s model charter, the council-manager form ensures that a professional perspective will be presented to the council by the manager on all policy decisions and that council oversight can be directed to any administration action. Other than the supervisions of departments/employees and administration of the budget once adopted, the key duties of the city manager (preparing and proposing a balanced budget, recommending personnel appointments and discipline, recommending administrative procedures, providing information on policy issues, recommending all contracts for approval, advising on the financial condition of the city) all require the manager to have interaction with and approval from the city commission as a body.

With separation of powers, the mayor can limit the policy advice given to the council and can shield staff from council oversight. In the mayor-council form, mayors can also have a substantial impact on the amount and quality of professional advice they receive and share with the council and on the level of professionalism that is present in the administrative organization. In contrast with the council-manager form, in which the council has authority over the manager, the mayor in the mayor-council form is a separate and independent executive.

The second feature that differentiates forms is how executive responsibilities are performed. In the council-manager form, executive functions are primarily the responsibility of the city manager even if on occasion some functions are shared. For example, the manager has responsibility for overseeing and directing the performance of city employees, but makes recommendations to the city commission for appointment, discharge, or significant discipline of employees, with the full city commission making all final personnel decisions. In the mayor-council form, executive responsibilities are exercised alone under the authority of the mayor.

The third distinguishing feature is whether the city manager is responsible to the entire council or to the mayor. Responsibility to the entire council is an essential characteristic of the council-manager form of government and helps to ensure both transparency and a focus on the public interest (as defined by the council) rather than the political or community interests of a single elected official. This reporting relationship to the council is exemplified by the council having authority to both hire and terminate the manager. This arrangement promotes responsiveness to the entire council, and reduces the possibility the manager may seek to serve primarily the mayor rather than the entire council.

Ron Scott has served as city manager of Danville since 2011. Prior to that he worked for the Kentucky League of Cities for 26 years, including 15 as assistant executive director.

http://www.centralkynews.com/amnews/opinion/scott-differentiating-forms-of-local-government/article_2ea01c14-f798-5f49-bb72-7e4cc1bbed80.html

Jul 17

SCOTT: City manager explains city manager form of government

Posted on July 17, 2015 at 11:56 AM by Bridgette Lester

SCOTT: City manager explains city manager form of government

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Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 8:02 am

Note: This column is the first in a three part series by Danville City Manager Ron Scott on Danville’s form of government, its history and the role of the city manager in it.

A total of 19 cities in Kentucky, including Danville, have by popular vote adopted the “city manager” form of government. These include the larger cities in Kentucky, such as Ashland, Bowling Green, Covington, Frankfort, Owensboro, Newport, Paducah, and Richmond. Somewhat smaller cities have also adopted this form of government, such as Corbin, Danville, Hickman, Henderson, Maysville, Paris, and Winchester. Both Louisville Metro Government and Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government could be viewed as having variations of the city manger form, as both appoint a chief administrative officer. Danville has had the city manager form in place for 38 years, since January, 1977.

Nationally the “city manager” form is known as the “council-manager” form of government. The term “council-manager” more accurately reflects that this form of government is a partnership between the elected officials (council or city commission) and appointed chief executive officer (city manager) in order for the city to perform both legislative and administrative functions. Why did this form of government become popular in the United States?

The concept of the council-manager form of government resulted from several prevailing modes of thought during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Probably the foremost influence was the Progressive Movement, in which municipal reformers wanted to rid cities of widespread misuse of power, which included graft, corruption and the abuses of the spoils system. The idea was to have a politically impartial manager carry out the administrative function of the city. Another influence was the Scientific Management movement, whose focus was to run organizations in an objective, scientific fashion to maximize efficiency. A third influence behind the council-manager idea was to have an organizational structure similar to the for-profit corporation, with its board of directors hiring a professional CEO to run its operations.

Sumter, South Carolina has the distinction of being the first city in the United States to implement council-manager government successfully, although Staunton, Virginia is credited as the first American city appointing a city manager in 1908. Richard S. Childs, later to be known as “The Father of the Council-Manager Plan”, in 1911 introduced a model charter plan for government in the New York Legislature that established the council-manager form. That model plan included three elements that were central to the future development and adoption of the council-manager form: the short ballot, political power was vested in the council as a whole, and concentration of administrative authority was vested in a single individual appointed by and responsible to the council as a whole.

The use of the council-manager form has expanded dramatically and continuously throughout its history. While the dramatic growth was in the early-to-mid part of the 20th century, there continues to be extensive growth in cities of all sizes, with a 45 percent increase in the number of council-manager cities in the United States since 1990 until 2007. This form of city (and county) government is also increasingly being adopted in other countries, including Australia, Canada, and Mexico.

Ron Scott has served as city manager of Danville since 2011. Prior to that he worked for the Kentucky League of Cities for 26 years, including 15 as assistant executive director.

http://www.centralkynews.com/amnews/opinion/scott-city-manager-explains-city-manager-form-of-government/article_94cb2a22-48bb-5682-9ab7-5eadc599eb6c.html

Mar 13

Danville prepares 'Bunny' Davis pool for the summer

Posted on March 13, 2014 at 10:52 AM by Bridgette Lester

Danville prepares 'Bunny' Davis pool for the summer

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Posted: Thursday, March 13, 2014 8:15 am

By PAM WRIGHT

pwright@amnews.com

Repairs have started at the William E. “Bunny” Davis Recreation Complex in anticipation of the May opening of the swimming pool.

City Engineer Earl Coffey reported to Danville City Commission on Monday on improvements already under way and those scheduled for the center in the coming weeks.

Coffey said many repairs postponed last year will be completed before the pool opens over Memorial Day weekend.

“We’re going to be doing some structural repairs to the pool this year,” said Coffey. “We’re also going to be doing some bathhouse work, including replacing restroom fixtures and working on some interior walls.”

According to Coffey, the city will paint the pool deck with non-slip paint and make plumbing repairs to sinks in both the men’s and women’s restroom areas.

Coffey said they also will investigate problems with the roof but said the city is unsure whether that will be on the improvement list for this year.

To date, Coffey said the city already has made electrical repairs to the facility and, once the structural work is completed on the pool, will begin filling the pool with water in early May.

“Apart from the roof work, we expect all that work to be completed before the Memorial Day weekend deadline,” said Coffey. “It does depend on the weather, but we don’t expect any delays.”


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