Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said he was borrowing from the “best practices” of other California big cities while crafting his strong-mayor initiative. All strong-mayor cities in California give their mayors the responsibility to introduce a budget and the power to veto legislation approved by the city council.
But it turns out Johnson’s proposal invests far more power in the mayor than any other California city, while avoiding some of the usual checks on executive power.
That’s something the yet-to-be-formed citizens’ committee on charter reform will have to consider. Here’s the breakdown, largely taken from a report by City Attorney Eileen Teichert. Under Johnson’s proposal, the mayor would also have the power to hire and fire department heads, something in common with San Diego and Los Angeles. Also, the Sacramento City Council would have 30 days to reject the mayor’s appointments for charter offices such as city attorney and city treasurer. But the council would have no power to stop the removal of those officers. For some observers, the plan recalls the bad old days of bossism and political patronage. “What Kevin has proposed is really an old form of government,” says SMUD board member and former City Councilman Rob Kerth, adding that it’s dangerous to give one person the power to hire and fire most of city government. “If you consolidate too much power into one set of hands, you are really turning the bureaucracy into a political tool.”
|Mayor’s budget automatically law if council fails to override?||Mayor can hire and fire city manager?||Mayor can hire and fire city treasurer?||Mayor can hire and fire city clerk?||Mayor can hire and fire city attorney?||Mayor can hire and fire subordinate staff?||Term limits?||Ethics commission?|
|Kevin Johnson’s initiative||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||NO||NO|