Roblee: What Columbia needs from government is the same regardless of the form of government

November 20, 2013 

Roblee

— On Dec. 3, Columbia voters will go back to the polls to decide whether to change their city’s government from council-manager to mayor-council. This is as important a decision for voters as the candidates they chose for mayor and City Council on Nov. 5.

Although the League of Women Voters of the Columbia Area does not prefer either form to the other, it does support programs and policies to ensure Columbia’s government functions effectively. Specifically, we believe the city should:

1)Develop a plan for the present and a vision for the future — a road map.

2) Assure that the policy-making branch (council) works closely with the administrative branch.

3) Identify a liaison between policymakers and administration in order to provide clear direction to the administrative branch.

4) Employ qualified and trained staff, in terms of education and experience.

5) Maintain checks and balances, nonpartisanship and diversity in terms of female and minority representation on City Council.

6) Provide for involvement of citizens.

7) Assure that the system provides a prompt response to citizen requests for services.

8) Assure coordination and cooperation among agencies and among all levels of government: city, county and state.

9) Require that a city manager meet International City/County Management Association certification requirements and adhere to its ethical standards.

10) Require that City Council members receive training.

11) Require that City Council members adhere to the constitutional and statutory scope of their positions.

12) Ensure that the mayor and City Council members, as the policy-making and legislative body, recognize that they are responsible for building consensus on the council and within the community around a vision of the city’s future.

Regardless of which form of government the voters select on Dec. 3, we believe that our elected city officials can ensure that the government is effective if they adhere to these 12 policies.

We urge all qualified voters to get out and vote on Dec. 3. It is your future. It is your decision. But your active participation to improve city government does not end at the voting booth. It continues by holding your elected city officials accountable to making the changes required for a more effective government.

Martha Roblee

President

League of Women Voters of the Columbia Area

Columbia

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