Thursday letters: Debate focused on strong mayor

September 19, 2013 

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TRACY GLANTZ — tglantz@thestate.com Buy Photo

— At a Sept. 10 mayoral debate, Mayor Steve Benjamin favored a change of Columbia’s form of government to the strong mayor format in which the mayor would head the “chain of command” — Mr. Benjamin’s words.

Some authorities believe this format promotes cronyism and that decisions are based on greasing the pathways rather than what’s in the best interest of the public.

Mr. Benjamin suggested that the current council-manager system is too complex and interwoven and scatters responsibility. Perhaps the system should be streamlined, but recall that Thomas Jefferson advised “that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes.”

Candidates Moe Baddourah and Larry Sypolt did not seem to want to change the framework of Columbia’s municipal government. They seemed to endorse merit-based hiring and job advancement based on objective performance measures.

Jeff Z. Brooker

Columbia

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