Weak Mayor Strong Council or Strong Mayor Weak Council..

What system of government do we have here in Dearborn Heights?

We have a strong Mayor weak council system here in the city here is the description of both:

In a weak-mayor-council system, the council is both a legislative and an executive body. Council members appoint administrative officials; they make policy; they serve as ex officio members of boards; and they prepare the budget. With this, Mayor powers are “weak” because they lack effective executive power and restriction on the ability to appoint and remove officials, and lack veto powers. 

The strong-mayor form of mayor–council government usually consists of an executive branch, a mayor elected by voters, and a unicameral council as the legislative branch.

In the strong-mayor form the elected mayor is given almost total administrative authority and a clear, wide range of political independence, with the power to appoint and dismiss department heads without council approval and little, or no public input. In this system, the strong-mayor prepares and administers the city budget, although that budget often must be approved by the council. Abuses in this form led to the development of the council–manager form of local government and its adoption widely throughout the United States.

In some strong-mayor governments, the mayor will appoint a chief administrative officer who will supervise department heads, prepare the budget, and coordinate departments. This officer is sometimes called a city manager; while the term used in the equally popular council–manager government, the manager is responsible only to the mayor in this variant.

Most major and large American cities use the strong-mayor form of the mayor–council system, however, the middle size and small American cities use the council-manager system.

Source: Wikipedia

Does the chief administrative officer remind you of anyone? Council-manager is a form of government employed by 58 percent of U.S. cities with populations greater than 100,000 — including Dallas, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Charlotte, N.C. Source: The pros and cons of a strong Mayor. Switching to a weak mayor set-up would require a change to the city’s charter, which means it would have to be approved by voters.

How strong is our Mayor if you watch the council meetings you will understand just how Strong the Mayor is. While the Mayor is supposed to be held responsible for his administering of the city this Mayor is never held responsible for anything. His total disdain for the council is very evident in his treatment of them. I get the impression that he considers them a bothersome group of people. Even though he sat on that council for years and chaired it. I highly doubt that the Mayor when he sat on the council would have allowed any Mayor to treat him in the manner he treats this council.. This has been the form of government from the beginning and while all Mayors of the city have been Strong Mayor’s not all have taken the “Strong” part to such extremes. While we all want the council to do something we want them to make changes they can not based on the system of government that we have in the city.

If you want a Strong Council that has to be changed through the charter and the voters.. A major change to the governmental system is very complicated it needs effort and studying to understand the pros and cons of each system. Understanding the importance of each system would take time and effort before the voters could be expected to understand what they are voting on.. I am not saying to change the system not saying that having a strong council weak Mayor would be something good for the city. I think having a Mayor that does not take this Strong Mayor to the extreme would be helpful.. The council is not that weak they do have power, but do they use the power that is given to them? This is all food for thought and maybe something that residents might want to start talking about. Just remember, “the grass is not always greener on the other side.”

3 thoughts on “Weak Mayor Strong Council or Strong Mayor Weak Council..”

  1. The city council can “If they want, or they wish, or thing its a better system to serve the public” put a proposal on the ballot to amend the city charter to switch the city from the strong mayor system to city manager system that requires professional qualified “City Manage ” to be hired based on qualifications not election and reporting to city council. The mayor will be elected by the council members for 1 year term and vote as a council member with figurehead responsibilities as the city representative with limited legislative and administrative power similar to other council members. The council will keep the Chairman and Pro-tempt system to manage council business.
    This collective and comprehensive municipal management style prevent any “power grabbing” struggle among the elected officials and limit their individual power and force them to collectively compromise to agree on city matters for best and most beneficiary results for the public.
    The professional city manager will have the “veto power” and the council must have 5 out of 7 votes to override the veto. The veto power represent the check and balance and limit the council ability to remove the manager without supper majority agreement.
    Managing municipal business requires experience and education for qualified and trained municipal employees. Municipal business is a public business that requires transparency witch is based on confidence that historically is the result of education and experience in subject field.
    This municipal management system ensure and assure the city residents that their representatives hire the best qualified municipal employees to manage and deliver their public services.
    This municipal management system will have no place for “appointments” all employees are hired based on competitive process including city manager.
    Commitment to public services is based on passion to serve first and the needs for employment to earn honest wages to live decent life.

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  2. Why isn’t the council manager system used at the state or national level, if less prone to abuse? The progressive movement brought it to the cities and could have easily takento higher levels, so why? In the UK, they have a system that mirrors the parliament. The lord mayor is a figurehead, the council leader is chosen from amongst the council (akin to prime minister). The council leader appoints other cabinet members (ministers – with council leader, collectively the executive branch).

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  3. Is anyone watching the saga of the Detroit Mayor Bing and his assistant? Seems like I have seen it before….

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