Monday, August 4, 2008

Power Struggle

Last week, the Charter Commission held their third-to-last meeting and, though they didn't vote on anything, power — and who should have it — seemed to be the question of the day.

The commission discussed whether they needed the City Council to approve their recommendations. Commission members were concerned that there was not enough time to do so and that the City Council might not approve their recommendations.

"There's no reason to suggest that the council will challenge our actions," said charter commission chair and city council member Myron Lowery. "You're giving hypotheticals I don't see any reason for."

Former judge George Brown also wanted to restrict future charter commission members from holding other elected offices. Brown said that Lowery's knowledge and expertise was invaluable on certain issues, but seemed to suggest there could be a conflict of interest by serving on the two bodies.

For instance, Brown also wanted to discuss a provision that would prevent the City Council from altering the powers of the mayor.

"We spent a lot of time on the contracting authority of the mayor, only to have at their next meeting a City Council ordinance that would have undone what we put before the voters," Brown said.

There is currently a move by the City Council to require council approval for mayoral appointments to deputy directorships. The council has to approve division directors, but both types of positions are appointed by the mayor.

"Explain the matter presently before the council," Brown told Lowery. "You can take Poplar or Union to Germantown, but it seems to me the council is trying to get to Germantown one way or the other.

"The charter should determine the office of the mayor as well as the other two branches of government. Of the three branches, your branch is the only one that has the power to put anything before the public for a vote."

Lowery held that the council does not have the authority to alter the powers of the mayor and that restricting the powers of the council would be unconstitutional.

1 comment:

Tom Guleff said...

The charter commission is definitely looking at Ordinance 360 for guidance on term limits.

I encourage citizens to vote NO on the shelby county ordinance 360 to keep term limits to two terms.

I guess we'll see on Thursday.