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Who should run Shelbyville?

Posted Tuesday, September 4, 2007, at 8:51 AM

For many years Shelbyville has had a full-time city manager in charge of municipal operations and a mayor whose duties are largely ceremonial. Meanwhile, the county mayor, or executive, or judge, whatever they've been called over the years, directly runs Bedford County's daily business.

Should Shelbyville's city government be changed so the elected mayor actually runs the city full-time instead of a non-elected city manager? Or would we run the risk of someone popular but unqualified being elected? And let's make it clear this is not a comment, positive or negative, on the present or any previous mayors or city managers.

I can see pros and cons on both sides of the issue

The barrage of TV ads for Nashville's mayoral race got me thinking about this along with the question Metro voters face of whether a local native or someone originally from elsewhere should run the city -- or if that factor should even matter (I don't think it should).

The ultimate factor, it seems to me, is if the voters' desires are heard more by an elected leader or as much by an appointee who doesn't directly face votors. Remember, that appointee is chosen by elected officials who, ideally, are listening to the public.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

The mayor does have some powers, including breaking ties in the City Council. And the mayor does serve as the public face of the community, which helps play a role in things like industrial recruitment. I actually think there's some value in separating that political role from the administrative role filled by the full-time city manager.

-- Posted by Jicarney on Tue, Sep 4, 2007, at 11:30 PM

Yes, but the city manager should be elected just like the rest of the officials...

B/c you get into accusations of favoritism and biased recruitment and/or decruitment of businesses...

I am not saying those are always fair accusations, but atleast this way, the defense could be, "The city elected him/her to office."

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Wed, Sep 5, 2007, at 6:50 PM

I have lived here off and on most of my life and did not know we even had a County Mayor until the last election. Has Shelbyville always had a county mayor?

-- Posted by Dianatn on Wed, Sep 5, 2007, at 8:30 PM

Yes and no.

The title "county mayor" is relatively new. For 15-20 years or so the same position was known as "county executive" and, for generations before that, "county judge."

-- Posted by David Melson on Wed, Sep 5, 2007, at 10:42 PM

Who should run? Me... Bananas are cheap.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Thu, Sep 6, 2007, at 10:29 AM

HAHA... Evil Monkey. Get back in your closet! lol!!!!

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Thu, Sep 6, 2007, at 9:39 PM

I feel an uneasy sense when I see the city manager too often in the paper. From what I gather, our current manager wants to run every department. Then why have dept. heads for them? Let's release them and let him do it all. Maybe he can find some place to put a road sign up he hasn't missed yet.

-- Posted by Chef Boy R.D. on Thu, Sep 6, 2007, at 10:06 PM

Exactly... That's a good analogy.

City Manager, should try to co-exist with other divisions of city government, rather than assuming control over a majority of the processes.

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Sun, Sep 9, 2007, at 2:50 PM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.