SACRAMENTO, CA - The Sacramento City Council voted 7-2 Tuesday night against putting a so-called strong mayor measure on the November ballot.
The proposal called for the mayor of Sacramento to be the chief executive who proposes the budget, appoints and removes the city manager and department heads, and allows for limited veto power. It also would have allowed for an independent city council with legislative and oversight authority. Term limits would have been an option under the revised measure.
Opposing the proposal were Ray Tretheway, Sandy Sheedy, Rob Fong, Bonnie Pannell and Kevin McCarty. In general, opponents felt the measure would give the position of mayor too much power.
In favor of the city manager drafting a strong mayor measure ballot were Robbie Waters and Mayor Kevin Johnson.
There were multiple lengthy presentations from city lawyers as well as the chief operation officer visiting from San Diego, a city which already operates under a strong mayor system.
More than four dozen residents approached the podium to express their views on the proposal. Fifteen opposed it while the remaining favored having the council direct the city attorney to draft a ballot measure.
"The turnout today was fabulous," said Matt Mahood of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce. "You had a lot of supporters out here in support of the new plan being rolled out by the Mayor and his chief of staff. It's unfortunate that it's going on so long. I think a lot of people are losing a lot of energy."
Johnson ended the discussion before the council's vote by saying "When I ran for office, I ran because I wanted accountability... I think this is another indication of a city not for something, but against something. I mean that in a respectful manner."
By Suzanne Phan, firstname.lastname@example.org