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April 18, 2014

Guest column: Council-manager form of government needed

Live Oak —

Jacob Grantham 

City Council, District 3

The Live Oak City Council appointed a charter review committee to review the city charter (constitution) and make recommendations, if any, to the council. After several months of meetings and discussion, the committee's final recommendation to the council was to leave the chief of police an appointed position with a 3-2 vote. The second recommendation by a unanimous vote was to change the form of government to the council-manager plan of government. This was adopting the language from the Model City Charter.

The Model City Charter is a valuable tool for the structuring/restructuring of municipal governance. Council-manager is the most popular structure of local government throughout Florida and 3,500 municipalities across the USA.

The council-manager plan of government is a relatively new idea for the city of Live Oak, but has been around for approximately 100 years. Amending the charter to have a city manager will not increase the size of local government.

The current city administrator's title will change to city manager. Some of the duties and authority of this position will change. While being directly accountable to the city council, the city manager will have the authority to appoint and suspend or remove all city employees and appointive administrative officers.

To effectively manage the daily operations of the city, it is critical for the manager to have the support of the city council with minimal interference. This works effectively to combine the political leadership and policy making prerogative of locally elected officials with the professional management skills of a manager. It will create a more streamline approach to local government.

The city council is a legislative body that has the power to hire, suspend and terminate administrative officers.

I, along with the rest of the city council, am not at City Hall nor do I work with the city staff 40 to 50 hours a week. I do not know what happens at City Hall on a day to day basis. I do not know how to manage an $18 million business nor do I have the education or experience to do so. The city administrator does. That's why he was hired. I was elected to represent the tax payers and your best interest, adopt ordnances and set policy. I was not elected to micromanage the daily operations of the city.  

The council-manager plan of government will take the city of Live Oak a step forward in promoting and implementing long-term goals, regional and intergovernmental cooperation and greater citizen participation.

The city-wide election will be held on May 6. Please cast your vote in favor of Amendment One. 

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