We are supposed to change the charter to give the Mayor more power and the Town Manager Less??

Wow! We are the Weak Mayor Town Manager Form of Government yet Joe’s article stating they wished to place Tommie Jones in some type of “Light” Town Manager position is preposterous.

This is what I know: The Town Manager has the highest possible position in our form of governance. And this is the manner in which even the League of Cities describes our form of government:

Characteristics of a “weak” mayor:

  • The council is powerful, with both legislative and executive authority.
  • The mayor is not truly the chief executive, with limited power or no veto power.
  • The council can prevent the mayor from effectively supervising city administration.
  • There may be many administrative boards and commissions that operate independently from the city government. ¬†

The councilmanager form is the system of local government that combines the strong political leadership of elected officials in the form of a council or other governing body, with the strong managerial experience of an appointed local government manager.

Helen Miller has always desired the “strong Mayor” form of government in that she would be able to handle the following, but our Charter does not allow for this: Yet, at the current time she just tells Tommie Jones what she wants and he does what she asks and that is not realistic. That is how we lost Bill Lawrence. Tommie knows that he is the Top Dog in this situation and he will play this game only so long.

Characteristics of a “strong” mayor: The Type of Mayor Helen Miller wishes to be:

  • The mayor is the chief executive officer, centralizing executive power.
  • The mayor directs the administrative structure, appointing and removing of department heads.
  • While the council has legislative power, the mayor has veto power.
  • The council does not oversee daily operation

Tommie Jones was hired as the “Interim Town Manager” for a period of six months at which time a decision will be made whether to keep him permanently as the Town Manager. He was unanimously voted in as the Interim Town Manager, told what his per hour salary would be and per Mayor Miller’s request, if one goes to Town Hall you will note that Tommie Jones is listed as the Interim Town Manager. And the Jasper News verified Mr. Jones’ title.

The Town Manager has all of the power and the council has none except for policy making and legislation.. Although the Mayor is the presiding officer, the mayor has no more power than the other council members. City managers however should avoid political activity (other than voting). City managers following this code of ethics should refrain from campaigning on behalf of candidates, donating to political campaigns, and displaying political allegiances with bumper stickers or yard signs. However Mr. Jones has already showed his political bias on the White Springs Journal and anyone not agreeing with him is called a racist. And if someone tries to take any of the powers vested in the Town Manager position, let’s see how fast he will sue the Town for discrimination and racism .

What is really sad is that there are no specifications as to what the Town Manager should be since the Town Manager has no specific duties at this time….as Helen Miller explained we by hiring Tommie Jones have time to figure out what we want our Town Manager to do.
No matter how you look at it, Tommie Jones is the Real Town Manager, whether interim or not and if he looks into the Charter he has the power of supervision, hiring and firing, handling property, etc. etc. including check signing and that cannot be stopped by the Mayor or any Council member. The Decision was made and it is final so no one can take away any of the Town Manager duties and try to have the Mayor and Council rule employees, etc. It is up to Mr. Jones to handle it and he can’t be a “Light” Manager form of governance. There is no such thing.

So, why don’t we take a poll on the blog with your comments. Are you happy with the Helen Miller’s decision to have Tommie Jones be our Interim Town Manager, even though he need not fill out an application or provide a background check?

Karin for the blog

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