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Citizens should decide form of government

Published: Friday, July 19, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

For what it is worth, I was hired as a city administrator in a city of 11,000 that was in constant turmoil. It was a strong mayor/city commission form of government.

I recommended a change to the city manager form of government. The council approved. We put it to a vote for the electors in the city to decide. Again, it was approved. We then drew up a charter and converted the form of government to a city manager. A plebiscite is the only way to go.

Ordinarily, the down side is salary. But, in the case of Dixon, it already was paying Shawn Ortgiesen more than $100,000. For a city the size of Dixon, that is more than adequate. 

There are some incumbent commissioners who prefer the current form. The voters should decide. Do they want the same people who gave them Rita Crundwell and Ortgiesen to dictate the decision of the form of government? Look at Naperville. It has a strong city, beautiful parks, a strong economy. Its experience is that the city even realized savings by hiring a city manager. 

Citizens of Dixon should be careful not to allow the discussion over the form of government to be a distraction from the Crundwell dialogue and the Ortgiesen repayment of all funds owed to the city of Dixon.

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