Rebuilding Faith in Local Government
On January 2nd, 2018, the council approved a contract that secures the YMCA place in our community. With this action, Sherwood closed a painful chapter in its political history. A chapter that strained public trust in local government to the breaking point. Watching the community come together to effect change was inspiring. Our Citizens have given us the opportunity to press the reset button and rebuild public confidence in local government.
The work does not end with the recall.
There are two important steps we need to take. First, we must rebuild trust between City Hall and the community. Second, we must repair a system that allowed leaders to dismiss the desires of the citizens.
Rebuild Trust - The Servant Leader
As your councilor, I pledge to be a "Servant Leader." What is a servant leader? It is simple; a servant leader is a servant first and a leader second. In the context of an elected office, servant leaders hold several strong beliefs and traits.
Everyone has the potential and value. Civility, respect, and trust should be the foundation of any relationship.
Servant Leaders inspire others with purpose. When inspired by purpose, people can move mountains and make the improbable, probable!
Servant Leaders understand that to truly connect with the community and understand the vision that people have for our city, requires outreach. You have to be present; you have to make yourself available.
As your servant leader, I am committed to cultivating strong working relationships with my peers on the council. I will also work hard to encourage healthy dialog and trust between the council and the community, between the council and city staff, and with our regional partners.
Checks and Balances
Restoring checks and balances in our form of government is key to preventing future abuse of our political system. As your councilor, I am committed to working with my fellow citizens, councilors, and the mayor to enact changes in the city charter and the City Council rules to prevent individuals from monopolizing the agenda of the city, silencing dissenting views, and ignore the will of the voters.
To do this, we have to de-emphasize the role of the mayor. The power to set the agenda, bring new ideas, and dissenting views to the debate must be shared across the entire council. We also must ensure that our city manager has the authority they need to conduct the day-to-day business of the government.
I am happy to report we have already started making the required changes to the city council rules. Some examples of new Council Rules that I am endorsing are:
- The city manager, not the mayor, will set the council agenda in consultation with the Council.
- A minority of the Council (3 members) can call a special meeting or a work session and may place an item on the agenda.
- The ability for citizens to comment at regular, special, and emergency council meetings will be a required agenda item and no longer optional for some meetings.
- City councilor and mayor expense items will be reviewed on a regular basis by the full council.
- City Council will adopt a code of conduct that councilors will be required to follow.
These are just a few of the changes we are considering. These changes are designed to make sure that we have a council of equals.
Once we have new council rules, I will be advocating for the creation of a citizens' charter review committee. This group will propose changes to the city charter that prevent a future council from giving power back to the mayor. Changes to the charter will require a vote of the citizens. Once these protections are in place, future elected officials will not have the power to change rules to suit their agendas.