Put citizens in charge of Spa government
By A.C. RILEY
The writer is a former Saratoga Springs mayor and county supervisor.
We who live in Saratoga Springs are blessed to have many valuable private and non-profit institutions that contribute to our quality of life and the economic benefit of our city.
These include industries that provide employment, popular entertainment venues, good restaurants, our churches, youth activities, Skidmore College, human service providers, and many more. We need to bond together to be sure we can maintain that good environment.
I encourage all citizens to review the new proposal that will change our form of government from the commission system.
This is where the City Council is made up of five elected department heads, one of whom is the mayor, to a seven member policy-making City Council.
This council will be made up of citizens who will represent our point of view when decisions are made about what direction the city government should pursue. They won’t have the responsibility for managing a department.
Pretty much every local government endeavor has changed to be such more complex and move faster than it did when we were a young city 100 years ago.
Our government needs an administrative manager who can carry out the policies set by our citizen council, with training in personnel management, allocation of resources and budgeted funds, interaction with other levels of government, and compliance with the current laws of the land.
Citizen leadership in policy, with professional management that answers to the council and carries out those policies, will provide the best and most economical services that we require.
Many more of our citizens will be able to consider the public service of running for the City Council when they do not also have to manage a department — their job will be only to make the decisions about policy, as our citizens wish.
We will have a much broader, varied pool ready to serve.
The proposed staggered four-year terms will provide for new blood from time to time, but always members with knowledge of what went before.
In a phrase, it’s time, Saratoga. In November, vote yes for charter change — You’ll be glad you did.