Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Paid professionals needed to lead

As a candidate for council myself I have similar and objectionable thoughts on this same issue. I do believe the Mayor as well as council be paid for the time they spend conducting the business of the city. I don't however want to see these positions become paid to the point that it becomes a career for people. If you pay just enough to compensate the individual for their time it will also require them to maintain the position they had before being elected. As it stands right now the city does not want the working class person to serve on council as they overload the docket and have meetings during hours of which only the business owner or a retired individual could make.

At issue is do we really want a paid Mayor which does nothing but the business of the city or do we continue with a ring master directing the circus ? A paid mayor would allow for the city manager staff to shrink which would free up money to pay members of council and the Mayor for the direction in which the city heads in.

At this present point I would hope that those running for council positions have the BEST interest of the people and the city as their highest regard and NOT some stepping stone in order to pad there pockets in some manner. As for me the city needs direction and spending its way into oblivion is not the direction we should be heading in, we need to bulk up on police and fire department personnel before the crime rate in this city goes even higher which will also ultimately have employers leaving the city.

In some aspects I agree with Jack Breesee, however I doubt I agree with him on the manner of which he was speaking as I do believe those that have concern for the city can do a professional job even without the pay incentive. The questions asked by our newest council members have been a breathe of fresh air and four new members along with a new mayor should gel nicely into the mix.

I chose not to follow through obtaining signatures to have myself placed on the ballot for mayor. After speaking to many people associated with both current and former city government, and given the way in which recent City Council meetings have been conducted, it is clear that a part-time, voluntary City Council and mayor are no longer adequate to the task facing them.

Our city needs not only management, but leadership as well. The leadership this city needs can only be provided by paid professionals dedicated to their jobs and accountable for their actions. The current system provides for only volunteers with sufficient resources to be elected to a largely ceremonial position. The current one-cent sales tax issue makes clear that the city manager position, however well-paid, is not able to address all of Springfield's issues singlehanded. To see any real progress in the area, the city charter must be updated for the 21st century.

Jack Breesee, Springfield

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