Mayor Bill Hereford is on record as favoring the move. Other council members have asked that local residents let them know their opinions.
The city can go about this by either passing an ordinance to hire a city manager, or calling for a vote of the citizens to determine the form of government. It doesn’t matter much which way is used, but we believe a talented and skilled city manager can improve governance of small cities where it can be difficult to find the expertise needed to perform an ever more complicated job.
A city manager is not an all-powerful figure who tells the council, mayor or city what to do. Instead, a good city manager is an executive type with a background and expertise in municipal government that can improve everything from cash flow to personnel policies to trash pickup schedules.
It is important that the mayor, council and citizens understand that the city manager works for all of them, and is responsible for carrying out the policies set forth by the council.
By understanding that, and making sure that is the way the system works, the people’s representatives still maintain control over the way the city operates.
Small towns are beset with all the problems of big cities these days, but often must deal with them without the expertise found in larger communities. By hiring a city manager who knows municipal government, a community can improve its performance and create a better way of life for its citizens.
As in all professional relationships, a large part of the success rate is dependent upon the parties involved having mutual respect and good communication.
If Pell City decides to hire a city manager, it is obvious that the candidates must know how to deal with municipal issues. But the respect and communication skills must also be there.
We support hiring a city manager in Pell City, one that can listen to the council and then carry out its policies in a way that benefits all who live there.