Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Perspective: 'No' campaign on why Muskogee should reject strong-mayor form of government

On June 30th, voters in Muskogee will be deciding on a City Proposition that would change the form of government from the current "council-manager" system to a "strong-mayor" system. I reached out to both sides of this issue and asked them to submit an op-ed. You can view the 'Yes' side's argument here. Below is an op-ed from former Muskogee mayor John Tyler Hammons on behalf of the 'No' campaign:

Why You Should Vote No on the Proposition to Revoke Muskogee’s City Charter
By John Tyler Hammons, Attorney 

The topic of structuring local governments isn’t all that fancy, but the voters of Muskogee will soon vote on a proposition to effectively rip up Muskogee’s constitution, our City Charter. A vote yes on the proposition removes the power of Muskogee’s people and gives it to the state.

Here’s why I urge my fellow citizens to vote no on the proposition.

Cities such as Chicago, New York City, and Baltimore – three cities that have adopted a “strong-mayor” form of government, see radically high crime rates due to poor leadership. The only way to replace the poor leadership is through an expensive election process which costs taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. A strong mayor form of government is most common among cities with populations exceeding  500,000 citizens.

Unfortunately, those mayors are also wanting to defund the police as we’ve seen in eecent news, and when they have no check and balance from the people, they run away with their radical Policies to defund police, fire, & rescue.

Currently – Muskogee’s government is a “council-manager” form of government. This form of government means we, the citizens of Muskogee, can immediately fire a bad city manager at the next council meeting If the manager is not meeting the expectations or fulfilling his or her duties.

In a strong mayor form of government, we, the citizens of Muskogee, would not be able to fire a bad manager – instead, it would rest in the hands of a Mayor – one person, with political ties, that influences every decision a City Manager would make.

According to Title 11 of the Oklahoma Statutes Citationized, if Muskogee switched to a strong-mayor form of government, we would be effectively abolishing the police, fire, & rescue agreements with our local servicemen and women. We would also be removing ward voting and we would be giving the Governor veto power over our city charter if he or she did not “like” what was in it. That’s just wrong on so many levels.

A government closest to its people, most connected to its people, is the best possible form of government.

We elect our leaders to hire an efficient and responsible manager with our tax dollars, and if they don’t run the city properly, we fire them at the next meeting. A government that is ruled by one person, as the “Vote Yes” campaign is proposing, one without a check and balance, is a dictatorship.

Muskogee changed from that style of leadership in 1920 for a reason. I will be voting no on June 30th for this proposition and respectfully encourage the people of Muskogee to visit to learn more information about this proposition.


John Tyler Hammons

1 comment:

  1. It's an absolute falsehood that we would be abandoning our city charter. The information provided by the city says we don't have too. It's too bad Hammons has to try and equate our option for a strong mayor to mega, liberal cities who, he says, are trying to defund the police....knowing perfectly well that we would never do that....but yet planting that ill deed in our minds. He says that "we" can fire a bad city manager through the city council--if you can find five city councilors who can do so.


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