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Blogs / Professional Fellows Exchange Program / Unlock the Secret City

Unlock the Secret City

Meet Congressman, Mr. Fleischmann after attanding Celebration of Transfer 25 acres at Tennessee Technology Park from DOE to CROET

Oak Ridge is a Secret City

What kind of secret? Yeah we have many secret here in Oak Ridge Tennessee.

On governance and legislative process that the primary thing that we should know, technology and environmental issues, community engagement, economic development and there will be more.

The first week in the city of Oak, we found a lot of new things, including the democratic process in the body that we attended the city council meeting and the apparent differences between the democratic process here with the existing democratic process in general cities in Indonesia.

 The City is governed by a modified City Manager-Council form of government. The governing body of the City is a seven member City Council. Approximately, half of the City Council is elected on a non-partisan basis every two years for a four-year term of office. Following each regular City election, the City Council elects one of its members as Mayor to serve for a two-year period as ceremonial head of the City and presiding officer of the City Council. The City Council appoints the City Manager, who is the chief administrative officer of the City. The City Manager appoints all other City employees except the City Attorney who is appointed by City Council. (from: Oak Ridge City Government Website).

When we attended the City Council Meeting to discuss about Oak City CDBG program proposed by the City Manager, the discussion process went pretty tough, there are three times the voting is done after the delivery of public opinion and the arguments between the city council and the relevant departments so that at the end of voting resulted in the decision to approve that project.

That meeting described some idea of the democratic process. Each person both from members of the public and members of the government are given freedom of expression with the rules set forth by the Chairman of the Meeting (Mayor). Each meeting participants are already aware of his rights and obligations in implementing the right to freedom of opinion and expression, whereas in experience in our city, this process is sometimes expression, uncontrolled or otherwise participants tend apathetic to the process.

We need to learn a lot about the meaning of freedom of speech and expression with a straightforward yet wisely.

Another interesting point is the position of Mayor here was once a member of City Council. We continue to observe and learn more about the impact of the Mayor's position as a member of City Council and as the person who appointed City Manager to carry out the management of the city, because the system of government in Indonesia that The Mayor (as the leader of city government) assisted by the Regional Secretary for driving the local government , so the position of the Mayor is describe briefly to execute the government program  and the Legislative body (City Council) to control and make regulations about what should the Mayor do to running the program and activities.

If a system like this happening in our country with the distinctive character of the people of Indonesia will certainly give rise to conflicts of interest between the position of Mayor as a member of the City Council as well as the people who give an arm to City Manager to execute.

I am interested in the process of governance between the City and existing County here. In an interview with Mayor Anderson County that I can catch is that it is more to the County Administrative Region, which includes some of the Cities region. However,  different of authorities that owned by City government.

City seemed more autonomy but rather as the extension of the State government, like implementing the economic development at the regional level, thus simplifying the implementation of the cooperation between Cities in their region that also involves a partnership between the various elements in the development of the region.

How about the execution of government tasks and the County Commission meeting, we will deepen more to get a clear comparison of the difference of how the democratic process is underway.


May 18, 2014


Shraddha Kharel-Pandey

Thanks for the blog Hera. I hope some of your questions will be answered in the course of the fellowship. The key is to keep asking questions so that you have a good understanding of how things work here so that you are able to take back some ideas to work on. It sounds like you are doing great on that front.

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