Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Perspective: 'Yes' campaign on why Muskogee should move to 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 read the 'No' side's argument here. Below is the Yes campaign:

Our Muskogee Municipal Government is currently operated by a City Manager, and the position of Mayor is simply a “figurehead” position. The City Manager is not elected by the Voters and has no term limits, but is responsible for running our City. Many growing Cities across the State and Nation have moved away from this outdated form of Government. On Tuesday, June 30th Muskogee voters will have the opportunity to eliminate the position of City Manager, and allow the elected Mayor to run the City.

We elect a President to run our Country, a Governor to run our State, and County Commissioners to run our County. Why shouldn’t we elect a Mayor to run our City? Earlier this year, Tracy Cole filed a petition to fix this. More than 800 Muskogee citizens agreed, and signed the petition.

Voting YES, will give the voters more of a voice and bring accountability back to the Voters.

Here are a few benefits to voting Yes:

Currently, the City Manager (who is not elected by Voters) is responsible for Street Repairs. If the proposition on June 30th is approved by the Voters, the Mayor will be responsible for Street Repairs. The Mayor is elected by the Voters and must be responsive to the Voters, whereas the City Manager is not.

Many growing Cities have changed their form of Government to be better equipped to attract new businesses. New industrial businesses looking to move to Muskogee and make a significant investment here by building a facility and hiring employees want to negotiate with a Mayor who has the authority to make decision for the City, not an unelected City Manager.

Currently our City Manager’s salary and benefit package costs taxpayers approximately $150,000 per year. Additionally, the Assistant City Manager’s salary and benefit package costs taxpayers approximately $100,000 per year. By eliminating the position of City Manager and Assistant City Manager, the taxpayers of Muskogee will save approximately $250,000 per year. These funds could be given back to taxpayers or invested in Streets.

If Voters want to see Muskogee change and grow, we hope they will join us in Voting YES on Tuesday, June 30th.


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