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April 16, 2014

The Democrat Says: City needs manager form of government

Live Oak — (Members of the Suwannee Democrat Editorial Board are Myra C. Regan, publisher, and Jeff Waters, editor. The Democrat Says is formed by that board.) 

City voters will be voting May 6 on who will be the next mayor and city clerk of Live Oak. Will they keep the incumbent or elect to make a change? That’s the beauty of our system. We decide who represents us and we vote them out if they are not doing a good job. 

Voters oftentimes are asked questions on ballots, too, usually called amendments and are written by attorneys. A lay person just might have to require the presence of an attorney to understand what the wording actually means. Shading in the wrong bubble could spell trouble.

We want to make sure the voters of the city understand what Amendment One on the May 6 ballot means. You can read the language in the story beginning on page 1A of today’s paper.

Amendment One will ask the voter if the charter of Live Oak should be amended to establish a council-manager form of government. Currently, the city has a council-administrator form of government. This administrator’s duties are limited. The five city councilors call the shots in the city, including some oversight of employees.

Last we checked, and you have read all about it in this newspaper, the council has enough on their plate without dictating everything. You have a competent city administrator working for you in the city right now. Vote to allow him to have the powers and duties he needs to manage this fine city. If there is a problem that the city manager cannot fix, then it should be taken up with the five councilors.

Now don’t read the word power and think this person will run the city without oversight. He would still appear before the city council at each meeting. Having a city manager form of government would essentially free up the councilors to do what they were elected to do: create ordinances and oversee a multi-million dollar budget. 

We urge you to vote in favor of Amendment One on May 6.

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