The Carbondale Observer

News and commentary about Carbondale, Illinois and SIUC

Maroney Officially Announces for Mayor

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The Southern Illinoisan had an article Tuesday on George Maroney’s official announcement for mayor. From the article:

The first-time political candidate said he would work to improve the city’s business climate, lead the discussion on consolidating elementary school districts to save money and attract young families, and more closely follow Carbondale’s city manager form of government.

I’m guessing the talk about consolidating school districts refers to District 95 (elementary) and District 165 (high school). Or maybe he’s talking about consolidating the various elementary school buildings into one. I assume he’s not talking about consolidating with the Unity Point and Giant City districts.  Consolidating 95 and 165 would be a great idea, but I wouldn’t want to see the elementary school buildings consolidated.

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like the talk of a restoration of the council-manager form of government.  An active mayor is an important source of political leadership. The functions of a mayor and city manager are different, and both are important.

But I’m not sure Maroney intends to be a weak mayor:

Maroney said he believes Carbondale’s city government has strayed from its original design and he would act as a CEO, delegating authority to its proper recipients.

Castle Perilous owner and blogger Scott Thorne had a post on the Carbondaze Gazette commenting about this:

Delegating authority to proper recipients is much easier when you are the ultimate authority, as Maroney was during his tenure at Memorial Hospital. The mayor, first, has to respond to a number of different publics and, second, has to convince the rest of the city council to agree with any initiatives he wishes to implement.

Exactly.  I would add that under the council manager system, the mayor is not the CEO. Title 1, Chapter 2, Article A of the city code (navigation on the left) addresses this. The mayor is head of the city for legal purposes in relationship to the Governor and presides over city council meetings.  Title 1, Chapter 3, Article A assigns most executive functions to the city manager.

As Brad Cole has shown, there is room in the council-manager form of government for an active mayor providing political leadership. If people don’t like the direction in which Cole led the city, they should elect someone who will lead in a different direction. We shouldn’t just decide that leadership itself is the problem. I hope voters will make this an issue in the 2011 election.

I’m wondering if a clear Cole successor candidate will emerge.  I also wonder if Cole will endorse anyone.

Comments are welcome.

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Written by The Carbondale Observer

October 15, 2010 at 8:30 am

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