What Should Our Local Government Look Like – 3rd Way

Posted July 31st, 2017 @ 8:37 AM by

Alder Rebecca Kemble was tasked with reconciling the mayor’s version with Sarah Eskrich’s version of what a committee to re-shape local city government would look like and what they would be charged with doing. The Executive Committee of the Council will be discussing this tomorrow at 4:30. How’d she do?

If you expected to see my opinion – I’m not entirely sure, I’m asking you!

FISCAL NOTE
This resolution allocates $30,000 for costs associated with public engagement and research to be included in the Mayor’s 2018 operating budget. (Fiscal Note Pending)

TITLE
2nd Substitute Resolution – Creating a special task force on city governance; to examine and
make recommendations on elected officials, the structure and powers of the Common Council and its committees, and the structure and powers of the Mayor’s office.

BODY
WHEREAS, increases in the size and diversity of Madison’s population over the past three decades have brought new challenges and opportunities for the City; and,

WHEREAS, the City of Madison places a high value on democratic civic engagement with a long tradition of resident participation in City government through its committees, commissions, and boards as well as planning councils, neighborhood and business associations; and,

WHEREAS, the City of Madison has made a commitment to and has invested resources in the Racial Equity and Social Justice Initiative, which aims to eliminate racial and social inequities in municipal government; and,

WHEREAS, the City of Madison has not had a formal committee to examine and report on the best structure of City government since the 1980’s when the population of Madison was much lower and less diverse; and,

WHEREAS, the impending challenges of legislative redistricting based on the upcoming 2020 census and the annexation of the Town of Madison in 2022 provide further impetus to review the structure of City government,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Common Council create a Task Force on Structure of City Government with a total of 11 members, made up of 5 members, including 2 Council members,
to be appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Common Council, 5 members to be appointed by the President of the Common Council, to include 2 Council members, and a Chair to be jointly appointed by the Mayor and the President of the Common Council and confirmed by the Common Council; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Task Force appointments represent the City based on geographic interests, and reflect the ethnic and racial makeup of the population of the City as well as varying business, social, and economic viewpoints; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Task Force be staffed by the City Attorney’s office with the assistance of other city staff as determined by the City Attorney’s office and the Council President; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Task Force examine and report on the following issues, and such
other relevant topics that become visible in the course of the review as they relate to our current form of governance and models for reform:

General:
– The state statutes that impact the operation of local government, including the function of the charter, ordinances and rules for program operations;
– Governance models and practices of similar cities in the population range of 250,000-500,000 from states with similar statutory municipal requirements as Wisconsin and the efficacy of such models;
– The ways in which equity and accountability factor into different governance models;
– Optimal methods for ensuring decision makers are representative of, connected to and accountable to all members of the community;
– Other systems/methods for creating multiple avenues for resident participation in government without privileging decision-making based on the time and ability to attend meetings.

Common Council:
– The powers and duties of the Common Council;
– Powers of Council members to chair meetings of the Common Council, Finance Committee and other committees, commissions and boards;
– The attributes of councils with full-time members, part-time members, and those considered to be volunteer councils performing duties for a nominal salary or honorarium;
– Number of Council members and the impact on effective representation of residents in general and people of color and those living with lower incomes in particular, functionality of the body, and city governmental services;
– District vs. at large elections for Council members;
– Remuneration of Council members including a process for a change in pay;
– The size and cost of Council staff.

Mayor:
– The powers and duties of the mayor including the hiring and firing of department and division heads, veto, line item veto and emergency management powers;
– The size and cost of Mayoral staff.

Committees, Commissions and Boards:
– The committee system, and the use of resident, Common Council and staff members;
– The scope and nature of the powers of committees, commissions and boards, including how they report to the Common Council and how their recommendations are received;
– Powers to appoint Council members and residents to City committees, commissions and boards;
– The frequency and time of day of both Council and committee meetings.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Task Force shall hold public hearings, obtain written reports, and conduct research as the Task Force determines to be useful and necessary to prepare its report to the Mayor and the Common Council; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Task Force cooperate with the City’s RESJI Core Team to design and implement an innovative public input process to learn about residents’ perceptions of and experiences with governance in Madison, and their opinions about different structural options, including results in the final report; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that in addition to the public engagement process developed by the Task Force as described above, the Task Force intentionally seek input from the following stakeholder groups:
– The members of the Effective Government Guidance Team;
– Current and former Committee, Commission and Board members and Chairs;
– Neighborhood Associations;
– Current and former Alders;
– Current and former Mayors.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the final report describe the impact on people of color and those living with lower incomes of any potential changes as well as the optimal opportunities for the timing of such changes; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Task Force be provided with a budget of $30,000 from the Mayor’s 2018 Operating Budget to use for public engagement, language interpretation and translation, facilities rental and any other research-related costs; and,

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Task Force dissolve upon the issuance of its recommendations on any potential structural changes to city government and the presentation of recommendations to the Mayor and Common Council by December 31, 2018.


Categories: | Media

Forward Lookout's Comment Policy - use a real e-mail, if not an actual name. We don't share your e-mail with anyone.
blog comments powered by Disqus