Kansas City Thinkin’ About A Charter Change
Tony’s Kansas City has had the story about some in Kansas City who are considering changes to the city charter in order to strengthen the role of the mayor. This is as good an opportunity as any to remind people of all the work we have released on the issue of local government in Kansas City.
My main charter recommendation for Kansas City government is to remove the peculiar designation that makes each at-large councilmember also represent one of the council districts. There are benefits to at-large elections (lower overall spending), but they are reduced if you make at-large officials also represent a district. Just let the at-large reps serve at-large and the district reps serve the districts.
It will be interesting to see what concrete proposals come out of this. Will the role of the mayor be increased at the expense of the council or the city manager? It is basically impossible to implement a true “strong mayor” system like Chicago (or, for a Missouri example, like Florissant — neither is really a good comparison) and maintain an influential city manager. But there certainly can be smaller steps taken to strike more of a balance. I cannot wait to hear what those steps may be.