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From the Ballot Box: November 2014


Numerous local governments placed questions on the November 2014 ballot related to form of government. This list contains results only for the elections of which staff are aware.

Numerous local governments placed questions on the November 2014 ballot related to form of government. This list contains results only for the elections of which staff are aware. If you know of others, send an e-mail to jdailey@icma.org.

Council-Manager Charter Approved in Mt. Angel, Oregon

After 32 years, voters in Mt. Angel, Oregon (pop. 3,405), approved Measure 24-370, which provided for a number of changes to the city charter. Notable changes include creation of the position of city manager and incorporation of the mayor as a voting member of the governing body. Mt. Angel’s current city administrator, ICMA member Eileen Stein, took the reins as city manager when the new charter went into effect on January 1, 2015.  (Source: Statesmans Journal)

Council-Manager Replaces Commission Form in Dixon, Illionis

By more than a 3-to-1 margin (2,977 to 916), voters in Dixon, Illinois (pop. 15,333), adopted the council-manager form of government, replacing the city’s commission structure. ICMA provided information on professional local government management to the pro-council-manager citizens’ group, Committee to Change City Government.  (Source: Saukvalley.com)

Van Alstyne, Texas, Retains Council-Manager

Voters in Van Alstyne, Texas (pop. 3,096) retained the council-manager form of government by a vote of 381 to 292.  (Source: Herald Democrat)

Estero, Florida, Incorporates and Creates Village Manager Position

Residents in Estero, Florida (pop. 22,612), rang in 2015 with cheers of “unincorporated no more,” the result of the November election in which residents voted 87 percent in favor of incorporation as the sixth city in Lee County. The measure took effect on December 31, 2014, and will result in the city hiring six employees, one of which will be a village manager.  (Source: Newspress.com)

Cedar Falls, Iowa, Creates City Administrator Position

In June 2014, council members in Cedar Falls, Iowa (pop. 40,566), approved Ordinance 2824, which created the position of city administrator. Following a complaint filed by a resident, which alleged that the creation of the city administrator position changed the city’s form of government and, thus violated state law, it looked as if residents would be forced to vote on an initiative to formally change the city’s form. In November 2014, however the Cedar Falls city attorney concluded that Cedar Falls had not violated state law, since state law granted municipal governing bodies authority to create the position of city manager or administrator and to bestow powers to that position without changing the form of government. The first Cedar Falls city administrator will report to the mayor with no change to the city’s current mayor-council form of government.  (Source: WCF Courier) 

Mayor-Council Form Preserved in Plantation, Florida

Voters in Plantation, Florida (pop. 90,268), rejected a proposal to change from mayor-council to council-manager government by a vote of 17,185 to 7,469. The proposal included a provision through which hiring and termination recommendations for the city’s police chief, fire chief, and city clerk would be made by the city manager and would require a supermajority vote of approval by the council. (Source: Sun Sentinel)

Council-Manager Loses by Slim Margin in Broken Bow, Nebraska

Broken Bow, Nebraska (pop. 4,142), will continue to operate under the mayor-council form of government after voters rejected a proposal to switch to the council-manager form. The vote was 629 in favor of mayor-council retention versus 530 to change to council-manager. (Source: Kearney Hub)

No Elected-Executive for Kankakee County, Ill.

By a margin of 17,443 to 13,413, residents in Kankakee County, Illinois (pop. 112,120) voted to retain the county’s current structure of government, through which the county board selects from among its 28 members an elected official to serve as the chief administrative officer.  If approved, the proposal put before voters in November would have required residents to elect the chief administrative officer by popular vote.  (Source: Daily Journal)

Need form-of-government assistance? 

ICMA provides information, presentations and other support to individuals and organizations interested in promoting professional management and the council-manager form of government. Contact Jared Dailey, program manager, at jdailey@icma.org or 202-962-3557. For information about ICMA’s Fund for Professional Management, contact Erin Carr, development manager, at ecarr@icma.org or 202-962-3697.

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