Columbia, SC — The strong-mayor form of government would be a giant step backward for Columbia. Those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it. The council-manager form of government was spawned in the 1920s in response to the rebellion of citizens and business leaders against corrupt city governments. Many had degenerated into ward machines characterized by cronyism, nepotism, log rolling, inefficiency and wasteful operations. Human greed had replaced public service. Who you knew was all that counted.
Under the council-manager form of government, operating policies and budget approval are the responsibility of the elected mayor and council. A professional city manager hired by the mayor and council is responsible for implementing their policies. All staff hired by the manager must meet written education and experience qualifications adopted by the mayor and council for each job. This includes the professional city . This approach is similar to the board of directors and the chief executive officer used in business.
Major cities in North Carolina and South Carolina use the council-manager system except Charleston and North Charleston. This includes Charlotte, which seems to have prospered very well. What is to be gained if Columbia reverts to a system that has proven to be unworkable?
Sidney F. Thomas Jr.