Last night, the Sacramento City Council voted to direct city staff to draft a "strong mayor" initiative that would appear on the November 2014 election ballot.
Supporters say a "strong mayor" form of government would help get things done faster at a critical time for the city with a downtown arena project in the works. City Councilman Jay Schenirer voted in favor of the plan:
"We have what's happening with our downtown and the arena and the fact that investors are willing to put significant resources into the city, that they trust us, and I know that there are many others who are considering it. So what is the best type of governance system that we can have to really be able to take advantage of a changed world for us."
But opponents say there's no need to change the city's form of government right now. Among the council members voting against the plan was Steve Hansen.
"This, at the end of the day, is not something I see as a priority. What I see as a priority is creating jobs in this city. We're in a very sensitive time economically, we're still in a recovery mode. When your body is recovering from a difficult trauma you don't inflect more trauma."
The council voted five-to-four to move the plan forward. The "strong mayor" plan, known as the 2014 Checks and Balances Act, shifts control of the city's day-to-day responsibilities from the unelected city manager to the mayor. The mayor would be able to hire and fire the city manager and have the power to veto legislation passed by council members.