Coos County, Oregon
Unsuccessful creation of county administrator position in November 2012; $5,000 Fund Contribution
Voters in Coos County, Oregon (pop. 63,043), faced two competing ballot measures on November 6 that could have had a significant impact on professional management in Oregon. The local charter review commission proposed the adoption of a powerful home rule charter that would have forbidden the hiring of an administrator, required voter approval on debt over $5,000, and required that 80% of the governing body be present at commission meetings. The Coos County commissioners countered with a proposal of their own that would have expanded the number of commissioners and created an administrator position. The citizens’ group Coos County Alliance for Progress campaigned against the proposed home rule charter and for approval of the administrator proposal.
Voters rejected the home rule charter proposal by a nearly 3-to-1 margin; with 18,167 (74.4%) against and 6,251 (25.6%) for it. They also rejected the administrator proposal as well by a vote of 10,503 (41.8%) for and 14,628 (58.2%) against it. ICMA worked with the citizens group and provided a financial contribution from the ICMA Fund for Professional Management in support of the county administrator option.
McHenry County, Illinois
Successful retention campaign in November 2012; $2,845 Fund Contribution
By a vote of 75,010 to 41,501, 64% of residents in McHenry County, Illinois (pop. 308,760), elected to retain the county administrator form rather than adopt an elected executive option.
ICMA provided guidance and educational assistance to the pro administrator group No County Czar by underwriting the development of a half-page, four-color advertisement that explained some of the differences between the two forms of government. The advertisement was supported by monies from the ICMA Fund for Professional Management and ran in the November 4 and 5 editions of the Northwest Herald.
Unsuccessful attempt to strengthen manager’s position in November 2012; $1,500 Fund Contribution
By a margin of 55 to 45 percent (11,055 to 8,964 votes), residents in Sarasota, Florida (pop. 52,341), rejected a proposal spearheaded by a city commissioner to amend the city’s charter, split the charter position of city auditor/clerk, and create a new position of city clerk that would report to the city manager rather than city commissioners.
ICMA worked with several ICMA/Florida City/County Management Association members to provide editorial support and a monetary contribution from the Fund for Professional Management on behalf of the proposal, which if passed, would have strengthened the manager’s position.
Saratoga Springs, New York
Unsuccessful adoption campaign in November 2012; $25,000 Fund Contribution
Following a two-year court battle between the city of Saratoga Springs, New York (pop. 26,586), and the pro council-manager group Saratoga Citizen, a question on whether the city should scrap its existing commission structure in favor of the council-manager form was put before voters. Saratoga Citizen collected enough signatures to put the question before voters in July 2010, but the city rejected the petition citing invalid signatures and other irregularities. In January 2011, the courts decided in favor of Citizen and as a result, no group in New York state will be required to develop a fiscal comparison as part of its efforts to put a proposal to change the form of government before voters.
ICMA worked closely with Saratoga Citizen and the New York City/County Management Association to provide strategic guidance, educational materials, and a contribution from the ICMA Fund for Professional Management. Unfortunately, it was no photo finish for council-manager, as voters defeated the proposal 5,991 (57.5%) to 4,423 (42.5%).
Unsuccessful creation of town manager position in November 2012; $900 Fund Contribution
Although retaining the town meeting form of government, a charter review commission in Westbrook, Connecticut (pop. 6,685), recommended creating the position of town manager, and that question appeared before voters in November. While the citizens’ group Committee for Effective Government supported the proposed charter change, voters did not, and they rejected establishment of the position by a margin of 1,940 (62.2%) to 1,178 (37.8%). The ICMA Fund for Professional Management provided a contribution to Committee for Effective Government to develop and mail informational materials and print lawn signs.