Follow this example

As is the case in Chico, the City Council in West Sacramento changes mayors by rotating the position among council members. This year, however, the man slated to become mayor turned down the job, saying he didn’t have time for it. So the current mayor was re-elected to the post.

But the West Sacramento City Council went a step further: It put a measure on the March ballot to allow for the direct election of mayor by voters.

The Chico City Council should pay attention. Chico is long overdue for a reconsideration of the post of mayor. The current system, which creates the weakest form of mayoralty possible, does not serve the city well.

As the Sacramento Bee noted in a recent editorial, “A cozy, share-the-job scheme worked with the city was smaller, but in recent years West Sacramento has become a big player in the region. In the interest of continuity, to facility stronger and consistent relationships with other regional leaders and to act as an effective voice for the city, the people of West Sacramento need to elect their mayor.”

West Sacramento, it should be pointed out, is one-third the size of Chico. While its proximity to Sacramento does enhance its regional role, it has little of the economic, educational or medical-services clout that Chico, as a university city that dominates a four-county region, enjoys.

Having a mayor elected city-wide to a four-year term would give Chico a stronger voice in its dealings with other entities, including the state. And an elected mayor representing the entire city would be a strong force for developing consensus on critical issues and offsetting more narrowly focused council members.

Chico City Council members should follow West Sacramento’s example and put the issue of an elected mayor on an upcoming ballot. If nothing else, the resulting discussion of the role of the mayor could only be good for the community.