Monday, January 11, 2010

On Westbrook's Mayoral Form of Government

Westbrook's charter grants [Mayor Colleen] Hilton
unusually broad powers. In fact, the mayor in Westbrook has more authority than
the mayor of any other city in Maine. Although the city has just over 16,500
people, Hilton wields the kind of power enjoyed by big-city mayors such as
Thomas M. Menino of Boston and Richard M. Daley of Chicago.
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: E-Mail Mishap Leads to Earlier-Than-Expected Layoffs of City Workers (January 8, 2010)


Anonymous said...

I am concerned about the lack of confidentiality before layoffs. The whole fire/rescue dept received the information in email regarding the Deputy Fire Chief lay-off. Professionalism in question??? The city charter should be revised for these employees to have some rights to hold their job. These jobs are at risk every two years in Westbrook at the whim of the elected mayors political agenda...The charter gives the mayor to much power.

james t said...

We will have a chance to vote on re-writing the charter in June. If we vote to re-write it then a charter commission will be elected, they will re-write it and then it will have to be approved.

I agree with your points of being at the whim of the mayor but there are checks and balances, for instance a two year term. The e-mail was unfortunate but I think we have all blunder e-mails before. For Mayor Hilton it was a real bad time to make a mistake.

I'm more concerned with the lack of information on why these decision were made. I am extremely worried about putting the Chief of Police in charge of both dept. This is a bad idea and I would bet it will have a huge negative ramification. We already know of problems between the two departments, the Chief failures in his own department and how he is going to run everything successful? Are we to believe there was no one else qualified to handle this position? Is it really going to take a year to find someone after we just went through this process less then a year ago.

SymPrint said...

The changes made during the last week were not politically motivated. Nor were they unepxected.

I agree changes need to be made with the Charter including changing the Mayor's, City Coucil's, and School Committee's terms to three year staggered terms. There is so much in the Charter that is just outdated.

I have registered a PAC called Change the Charter. Please contact me if you are interested in getting the Charter Change passed in June.