Thursday, November 16, 2006
Detroit City Council Is Ineffective by Akindele Akinyemi
For decades, Detroiters have had an inept form of city government that is totally disfunctional. More recently, we elected Martha Reeves to the Detroit City Council. Even though there is an effort to recall Martha Reeves in Detroit we are still stuck with a bunch of babbling idiots who do not have any clue to make Detroit a world class city.
We should take into consideration several options:
1. Council by districts. This is one way of bringing accountability to the areas that elected council member should represent. This idea is popular with young adults in the city and would encourage them to break into politics. On the other hand, older people in Detroit do not like this idea.
2. Consolidation. Consolidate the Detroit City Council into Wayne County Government. This is an idea that a city and county that have been merged into one jurisdiction. As such, it is simultaneously a city, which is a municipal corporation; and a county, which is an administrative division of a state. Examples of this includes:
Athens and Clarke County, Georgia (one community within Clarke County retains a separate government)
Augusta and Richmond County, Georgia (two communities within Richmond County retain separate governments)
Indianapolis and Marion County, Indiana (four communities within Marion County retain separate governments.)
Jacksonville and Duval County, Florida (four cities within Duval County retain separate governments; all other rural land is incorporated by Jacksonville, preventing any annexation by them)
Kansas City and Wyandotte County, Kansas (this "Unified Government" contains Kansas City and three other communities; a county relationship is maintained with the rest of the communities within the county)
Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky
Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee (seven communities within Davidson County retain separate governments, although all participate in the metropolitan government in a two-tier system)
Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana
Lafayette and Lafayette Parish, Louisiana
3. Setting up a council-manager system of government. In the council-manager form of government, an elected city council (typically between 5 and 11 people) is responsible for making policy, passing ordinances, voting appropriations, and having overall supervisory authority in the city government. In such a government, the mayor (or equivalent executive) will perform strictly ceremonial duties or will act as a member and presiding officer of the council.
The council will hire a city manager or administrator who will be responsible for supervising government operations and implementing the policies adopted by the council. The manager serves the council, usually with a contract that specifies duties and responsibilities. Ideally, the manager is apolitical, but this is often difficult.
The other thing about the Detroit City Council is that there are too many members that sit around the table. We recommend cutting the City Council from 9 members to 5 members. The reason is because Detroit is shrinking as a city and its population continues to decrease so should the number of council members.
Also, Detroit City Council should institute term limits. Every 2 years City Council should run for office just like State Representatives, County Commissioners and Congress. They should serve three terms like state representatives the should be eligible to run for County Commissioner.
If we continue to do the same thing and keep the same thing in place then Detroit will never go Anywhere.