Check with the manager

When you want to get something done in business or in government, go to the person in charge.

Likewise, running a city is like running a big business in many respects. Think of the city council as the board of directors and the city manager as the chief executive officer or CEO. The board sets the policy and direction and the CEO executes the directives and runs the business from day to day. The mayor is a figurehead, the chairman of the board who makes presentations and represents the company to the media.

It’s always good to know members of the board and get chummy with the chairman, but if you need to get some business done, and done right, it’s better to have access to the CEO. That’s the person who cuts the deals and delivers. And so, that’s the way it is with the strong manager system in Sacramento. City Manager Bob Thomas is the CEO and you should understand who he is and how he does business.

But what about the citizens, you ask, where do they fit into this corporate structure? Think of the citizens as the shareholders who can vote the board out. And if the CEO ignores the shareholders’ wishes, well, the board has the right, and the duty, to step in and demand that the entire Sacramento community be served, not just the business interests.