Letters to the Editor

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TACOMA: Jettison city manager position

Letter by Erik J. Bjornson, Tacoma on Dec. 16, 2011 at 9:56 am with 8 Comments »
December 16, 2011 12:21 pm

The time has come for Tacomans to jettison the city’s antiquated, duplicative and financially wasteful city manager form of government.

Relatively very few cities are willing to spend the extensive resources to have eight council members, a mayor and city manager. Yet, despite a endless list of civic leaders who have advocated terminating Tacoma’s city manager system, the city continues to waste at least $500,000 a year on the current system.

There are many complaints against a city manager system, including the fact that the manager is not directly accountable to voters and cannot be voted out of office. The city manager in Tacoma can do whatever he pleases so long as he is not opposed by give council members.

Most Tacomans would rather save the jobs of five police officers or firefighters rather than continue with the city manger system. The Tacoma City Council should place the measure before the voters in November 2012 as most Tacomans value public safety far more than needless bureaucracy in the city manager system.

Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. sandblower says:

    So, who on the council is qualified and has the time to make all the decisions the City Manager makes? Will they take this on for free?
    Mr. Bjornson needs to have more answers for his suggestion.

  2. KidTacoma says:

    I agree with you about moving to a strong Mayor system. However, it seems unlikely that it would be feasible without a full time council, and if you’re going to pay a full time council the money required to attract engineers, architects, accountants, and other high level business professionals (you know, folks with the skills that actually lend themselves to intelligent city planning) to become City Council members and Mayors with the ability to do the work of the City manager you’re going to need that 500,000 and more to pay them salaries competitive with the market.

  3. Why not elect a full time Mayor and Council?

  4. sandblower says:

    We have an elected Congress and they cannot get it done by themselves. How do you propose an elected city council will get it done when the electorate puts individuals like Mr. Washam into office?

  5. sandblower says:

    It takes trained bureauocrats, believe it or not.

  6. harleyrider1 says:

    here’s another budget idea:

    Why are we paying the equivalent amount of the average Tacoma tax-payer’s annual salary to a part-time Council member?

    In many communities, they pay only “reimbursements’ for out-of-pocket which are read and seen by all; in many communities, they make it a point to determine the average annual wage of their taxpayers – and then pay only half that to a part-time council.

    Lie teachers, we are paying a nice annual salary for part-time people.

    Tacoma tax-payers continue to let these folks do what they want, instill budget fear and suffering into your lives – but they work for you! so, who’s really at fault?

  7. klthompson says:

    Although I no longer live in Tacoma but I think long thought should be given to repeating the mistakes of the past. As a teen I worked in downtown Tacoma in the days of the commission form of government and witnessed first hand the graft and corruption that took place prior to the upheaval in 1950 and 1951. Lower Pacific Ave. was not a safe place to be at any time of day. Be careful of repeating past errors.

  8. samanthamarten says:

    My observations and experience with our present approach suggests that even though strategic decisions are sought there is no independent analytical unit to offer alternative choices ranked according to the distributional and spillover effects from project design through field implementation. Instead, political and organizational acceptance appears to be weighted disproportionality to an objective review of options calculated independent of personalities, hierarchical relationships, and vested interests.

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