Opponents of the proposed new charter for the city of Saratoga Springs are fond of saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That’s like the owner of a children’s swing, who notices that a rope is wearing through, deciding to put off replacement till it wears through completely.
We have had the same commission form of government for slightly more than 100 years, through good times, depressions, empty storefronts, organized crime and corruption, and, right now, good times again. That makes it hard to say that our current good fortune is a result of the government’s structure.
But we do notice a fraying of the rope. As our society becomes more complex, the services we need from government don’t fit neatly into one particular commissioner’s fiefdom so that, where there should be cooperation, there is bickering. One example: the lack of a human resources department to provide career ladders for all qualified employees. The city’s own employees, to whom we in the Charter Review Commission listened, can speak to the fraying of the rope.
Switching to the proposed charter with its city council-city manager form of government will unify the administration under one manager responsible to all the members of the council and make this an even better city.
A survey of city employees and the full text of the proposed charter is at.
BARBARA THOMAS Member, Charter Review Commission Saratoga Springs