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Panel: Administrator a must

Research will determine which form will work best with one

Published: Thursday, May 16, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

DIXON – Members of the governmental task force are convinced the city needs an administrator, they said at Wednesday’s meeting, the panel’s second.

The committee now must determine what form of government is the best fit for one.

John Phillips, an adviser from the Illinois City/County Management Association and former city manager of Rock Island, spoke Wednesday about the various forms of government, telling them an administrator is necessary to handle the growing complexities in municipal government.

He also warned: “Whatever form of government is chosen, the administrator should have a clear clarification of their duties.”

Mayor Jim Burke created the seven-member task force in the wake of the Rita Crundwell scandal to study the three forms of government and make a recommendation from that research.

Also, the City Council is pressing ahead with plans to hire a city administrator within the next 3 to 6 months, however, the position’s job description is yet to be defined.

While a consensus became clear on the need for an administrator among the task force, members started asking questions about which form of government would be the most efficient or most stable, concluding more research was needed.

They will bring a list of questions next Wednesday to ask administrators and elected officials from other communities that use each of the three forms.

Each form of government can have an administrator, but the city manager form works most efficiently, in his opinion, Phillips said.

The mayor-council form, which is used by Rock Falls, and the council-manager form, which is used by Sterling and Rochelle, lend themselves most toward working with an administrator, he said.

In the mayor-council form, the City Council can give an administrator as much or as little power as it wishes by city ordinance. In the manager form, the city manager is given his power by state statute.

The task force also will examine the city’s current commission form, which gives elected commissioners both legislative and executive duties, to see how well it can work with an administrator.

When asked which form protects most against corruption, Phillips said a code of ethics that are used in training and put into practice, regardless of form, are most important.

Task force member Bill Wadsworth confessed that his mind is made up for the city manager form.

Tom Shaw, president of Shaw Media, the parent company of Sauk Valley Media, said his range is narrowed down to those forms that work best with an administrator.

Marilyn Coffey suggested having a public forum with representatives from each form of government to answer questions about how each system works.

To attend

Dixon's governmental task force meets at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Public Health and Safety building, 220 S. Hennepin Ave.

Go to www.discoverdixon.org and click on "Citizens Information Center" or call City Hall, 815-288-1485, for an agenda or more information.

 

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