Local News

Expert, officials discuss City Hall conflict and strong-mayor government

Discussing strong-mayor form of government

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - As Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach vetoes another City Council ordinance, KRDO NEWSCHANNEL 13 looks at how much of an impact the city's new strong-mayor form of government is contributing to City Hall's conflicts.

Colorado Springs voters chose a new type of government in 2010, from a city-manager leadership to a strong-mayor one.

"The strong-mayor system is one which essentially empowers a mayor to perform all those functions of a city manager, but the mayor is actually directly elected by the people, and so therefore is directly politically accountable," said Josh Dunn, a UCCS Political Science professor who has been studying the city's government. "So then the mayor gets to makes choices about hiring and firing and those kinds of things."

Dunn said the conflict between the mayor and the City Council is to be expected. The adjustment to the switch in government is only part of the problem.

"Some of the conflict is personality driven. You have some pretty strong personalities both in the mayor's office and on City Council," he said. "And so whenever you combine those strong personalities with a new form of government, there's going to be some conflict."

One supporter of the strong-mayor form of government was City Council President Keith King.

"I wanted an executive type of branch, but I think what I did not realize when I voted for it, was how weak and powerless in many cases, the legislative branch is under this form of governance," he said.

Still, King said he thinks the strong-mayor form of government is the way to go.

"We just need a balance between the legislative branch and the executive branch," he said.

King said council and the mayor need to look at the city charter and get rid of gray areas causing problems.

Mayor Bach is out town and was unavailable for an in person interview. In an email, he said "Assessing how our new form of government is working should be based on interviewing a cross section of the voters, not elected officials."

Dunn said the city is still in a transition period and we can probably expect more conflict for a couple more years.

comments powered by Disqus

Must See Videos

  • Marty's Saturday Morning Forecast - 6/24/17
  • Marty's Extended Forecast - Saturday, 6/24/17
  • Fans travel internationally for Pikes Peak Hill Climb
  • Matt's Friday Evening Forecast 6/23/17