In 2001 a group of citizens in Sandusky, Ohio tried to change the city government to a mayor/ward system. This site tells about that election. The site remains for others to use for research or to learn what can happen in their own fight for change.
Sanduskians for Mayor/Ward 2001
"A mayor form and ward system basically provides more direct participation from the citizens. The government becomes more proactive, more goal-oriented, because there's basically a voter referendum every four years on the city's leadership." - Kevin Zeiher
"The ward system identifies a person with a particular area of town, and he'll be more responsible to those people in that area." - Dannie Edmon
In your opinion, what would make a good city government in Sandusky?
a. I would like to see the City really push Honest Conversations and Study Circles. What is that? Honest Conversations are discussion groups with a diversity of racial and ethnic makeup. When people are brought together for discussion, they find common ground. It is the best tool available to prevent racial violence such as Cincinnati has recently experienced. Honest Conversations is a type of Study Circle. Study Circles can be used for a variety of topics. They could be used to find out what the recreational needs and wants are of the youth in our community. Then it would be good for the City to actually act on the input from the community...
b. I would like the City Government to actually listen to the public and make a better effort to meet their needs and wants. I don't like it when they put a baseball diamond in backwards because it fits better. Nor do I like it when they change the city seal that was designed with a great deal of community input. I don't like it when the City ignores the Recreation Board who spend a great deal of time researching the public's recreation needs.
c. I would like people to feel free to speak their minds. I don't want people telling me that they are afraid to say anything because they might lose their job at the City. Nor do I like hearing people say that they can't do something because they are afraid the City will retaliate against them. I don't like a city employee telling me that we shouldn't push the drug traffic out of a certain neighborhood because they might move into mine. Maybe what these people have said to me isn't true, but if that is the case, why do they feel that way?
d. I would like to see the City Government pass only real emergencies as emergency ordinances. What the current city charter has for emergency ordinances is a joke. The petition for mayor/ward doesn't change this but maybe a mayor would quit abusing it. This is what our Charter currently says: An emergency measure is an ordinance or resolution for the immediate preservation of the public peace, property, health, or safety, or providing for the usual daily operation of a municipal department, in which the emergency is set forth and defined in a preamble thereto. It would be much clearer if it was stated the way the city interprets it: The commission can pass ordinances without any input from the community whenever they feel like it.
Actually if the city were to follow exactly what the Charter says, they could not address many emergencies of something new. Read it again. It says they can pass a measure to PRESERVE....which is to keep something we ALREADY HAVE and for the USUAL DAILY OPERATION...which means if it is something that a department wants passed but isn't something that happens every day, the City can't address it. So buying a new piece of equipment that would be for something the City isn't already doing, wouldn't qualify.
But doesn't the city need to provide for the usual daily operation of a municipal department? - Yes, of course. That is why they pass a budget. Usual daily operations are "usual" - how can "usual" be an "emergency"? Common sense tells you that it can't. A good example of a "Sandusky city emergency" is the passage of the "new" city seal. We had a nice city seal. It was designed with lots of input from the community. But one city employee decided she didn't like it and she hired a graphic designer to redesign it. Then she went before the commission and told them that they needed to approve the new design immediately because the city was getting some new signs and she wanted the newly designed seal to appear on them.
Most of the "emergencies" our city has are not true emergencies. What they are is poor planning, procrastination, and bad management. The charter would make more sense if it read: An emergency measure is an ordinance for the immediate preservation of the public, peace, property, health, safety, and welfare; or providing for special emergencies in the operation of a municipal department, in which the emergency is set forth and defined in a preamble thereto.
e. I would like to see the City do a major project and actually come close to budget. (Yeah, I know. That seems like the impossible dream.) I would like to see the City hire architects from this area for most of the City work and I would like to see them use AIA (American Institute of Architects) contracts when they hire them. (Yes, I do have a brother who is an architect but we have other area architects who are also very good. I would be happy to see the City hire any of them!) Local architects live here. If they mess up a job, everywhere they go - they will hear about it. And AIA contracts can hold the architect accountable. If the bids come in over budget, the architect has to fix the drawings at his own expense and if he omits things on the drawings, he can also have to pay for those items.
Right now it seems like our City employees do a little tap dance while they explain why our City has so many cost overruns. If we had a mayor, he would get voted out of office if the City continued to have the "cost overrun plague".
f. I think the Commission should go back to meeting every Monday.
Website maintained by BFGregory