Strong mayor group lists supporters

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Citizens for Accountable Leadership, a group proposing changes in the structure government in Colorado Springs, released a list of 70 community members who have joined their effort.

The supporters will join committee chairs Andy McElhany, Mary Ellen McNally and Chuck Murphy in creating ballot initiative that, if approved, will introduce a “strong mayor” form of government similar to those in cities such as Detroit, Chicago, and Denver.

Supporters include such local luminaries as former Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace, former city councilmember Richard Skorman, and former city attorney Jim Colvin.

The list also includes strong contingents from the real estate, business and development communities.

The list does not include any presently serving local elected officials.

“It’s time for a change,” said Makepeace. “Having had first-hand experience with the current form of government, I believe the strong mayor structure better fits the size and maturity of Colorado Springs.”

The group hopes to craft a proposal that will “reflect the values of Colorado Springs, increase transparency in city government and ensure a clear system of checks and balances.”

The list of supporters:

Gar Annelar
Thomas Arnold
Steve Bartolin
Jerry Biggs
Tom Binnings
Jay Bradley
Scott Bryan
Ron Butlin
Lew Christensen
Curt Christoffenson
Peter Coggeshill
Nick Colarelli
Vince Colarelli
Joseph Coleman
James Colvin
Ron Delay
Ben Demeter
Dick Dodge
Steve Engel
Ben Faricy
Barb Furr-Brodock
Tom Gosch
Daphne Greenwood
Les Gruen
Rich Guy
Steve Heieck
Heath Herber
George Hess III
Judy Ingels
Chris Jenkins
David Jenkins
Jeff Jensen
Jim Johnson
Jim Kin
Paul Kleinschmitt
Kevin Kratt
Ronn Langford
Robert Loevy
Kathy Loo
Mary Lou Makepeace
Andy McElhany
Mary Ellen McNally
Lou Mellini
Ryan Mitchell
John Morris
Ron Murphy
Wynne Palermo
Michael Palmer
Kenton Pass
Kevin Patterson
Renee Perrault
Lynn Peterson
Brenda Quinones
Dan Reifschneider
Jerry Rutledge
Steve Schneider
Nolan Schriner
Peter Scoville
Bruce Shepherd
Richard Skorman
Chuck Smith
Marvin Strait
Lynn Spear
Doug Stimple
Martina Stohlman
Perry Thomas
Luke Travins
Alan Uhalt
Brian Wagner
Hal Ward
Gary Whitlock
Brandy Williams
Ann Winslow
Lee Wolf

13 Responses to Strong mayor group lists supporters

  1. Please add my name as a supporter as well.

    Justin Burns
    March 31, 2010 at 12:42 pm

  2. Add me to the list!
    It’s too bad that we are likely to hire a new CIty Manager before this could get on the ballot.

    Trevor Dierdorff
    March 31, 2010 at 1:32 pm

  3. Who are they going to pick as their candidate? Strong mayor does not necessarily equate to leader. First and foremost, a strong mayor is a political activist with a specific agenda. That does not necessarily mean the mayor is a good administrator of government’s many functions. With department heads being appointed based on their political loyalty, are they any better administrators of a very complex organization, filled with myriad federal, state, and local mandates?

    And where is city council in all this? Do we really think they will go lock step with a strong mayor? Perhaps coat tails bring in a majority who are supportive of the Mayor, but as their ambitions increase, so will their challenging of his/her positions. If they have the power of budget approval, you can bet they will want their own staff to vet whot the Mayor is proposing.

    We are fooling ourselves if we think this will be cheaper in the long run. I don’t think Councilmember will be happy with $6000 plus a year if they are to act as a check on the executive branch of local government.

    March 31, 2010 at 1:53 pm

  4. I support the “strong mayor.” Our city is too big and complex to have a part timer!!

    M C Pennica
    March 31, 2010 at 3:53 pm

  5. The time is now to make this happen!

    Laura Muir
    March 31, 2010 at 8:11 pm

  6. It is about time. For too long we have had to sit by and watch as City Managers made poor decisions and then be rewarded with “Golden Parachutes” that rewarded shoddy decision making.

    At least a mayor will have a shelf life that will not be “rewarded” in this manner (if the initial creation of the position is done properly).

    Who cares where the City Council is on all of this? Who cares? If the council don’t like it, they don’t have to serve our city. As far as I can tell, City Council doesn’t do much that matters anyway except try to bully and browbeat us into raising taxes to fund their pet programs.

    For the most part, people are decent and as a result, we should be able to elect a leader that is going to help guide this city in a good direction. Hopefully, this person will avoid corruption along the way.

    April 1, 2010 at 7:08 am

  7. “Carla” is correct. It will be a tell tale sign of what this issue is really all about when we see who this group annoints as the heir apparent. It would be best if this group could separate the strong mayor ballot item from selecting an actual candidate.

    The general voting public is really suspicious and distrustful of just about anyone in politics right now, and those who are in local office and/or planning to run for a local office are certainly no exception. It would likely be a huge favor to whichever strong mayoral candidate this group prefers if they kept their preference and endorsements to themselves — do you hear that HBA, Chamber, and Realtors? When I read the first cut of the 70 on the Supporters List, I see a lot of special political and community interests represented, which probably represent only a very small number of our city’s zip codes. It will be critical to this initiative’s success to spread the support throughout the city.

    It is also logical to assume that this initiative will cost the city more… I’m guessing a strong mayor (one who actually is “accountable”) will command at least $100k/year. Add another $60k+ for his/her chief of staff & $30k-$50k for admin staff. And the rest of council will be due a real salary, not just a stipend – after all, you can’t have a full-time accountable mayor and a part-time unaccountable council — figure at least $36k/year for each of the remaining eight members. This could potentially mean $500k/yr. in salaries (versus $209k/yr. for a city manager).

    This would be a water shed moment in our city’s history if it is successful. Or it could become the biggest boodoggle (next to the OSOC farce). Come to think of it, could the USOC ordeal have been what triggered this? But changing the city’s form of government does not automatically get us an accountable leader. I hope the media (John H?? PZ?? Are you reading?) is paying close attention, and plans to accurately report on what could be the single most important matter to appear on a local ballot in a long while.

    This is very exciting, but if there is a hidden agenda it could kill it quickly.

    April 1, 2010 at 8:55 am

  8. Liam, I think that this issue will be exhaustively covered-not just by us but by the Gazette, the Independent, the Westside Pioneer, not to mention KRCC, Fox, and the rest of the media. It’ll be interesting to see what the group comes up with. I suspect that they’ll bend over backward to create a structure that will not be seen as handing over political control of the city to a particular group. The proposed charter amendment(s) changing the form of government would probably be on November’s ballot, while city elections would take place as scheduled during the next April.

    John Hazlehurst
    April 1, 2010 at 10:35 am

  9. A strong mayor — a charismatic visionary — is absolutely necessary to get this city back on track. We are starved for leadership. I don’t think it’s important what council thinks, either. Anyone who has worked in larger businesses knows what committees do to the decision-making process: solutions coming out of committee are almost always sub-optimal compromises. The only way we’ll find a path to smoothly functioning, efficient city government is under the guidance of a statesman with a dream and a strong enough following to get elected.

    Green Flash
    April 1, 2010 at 10:37 am

  10. I’m with Liam and Carla on this. Strong mayor does not necessarily equal leadership. I am interested in possible candidates that proponents have in mind. I doubt that fantasy lineup includes current city council members or the father of TABOR.

    Be careful what you wish for…

    Jason H.
    April 1, 2010 at 11:16 am

  11. I once saw a quote that said “You will never see a statue of a committee in any park.” I thought that was somewhat profound (and true).

    A good strong mayor for this city needs to be aware of his/her surroundings, and have a keen awareness of what is going on within the entire community – and not rely on a close circle of cronies who merely want to push any group’s special interests. A good candidate should be able to point out city zip codes in areas way beyond 80903 and 80906 (do they even know where Banning-Lewis Ranch is?) Throw in common sense and sound judgment for good measure, and check their ego at the door. You’ve now got the basics covered.

    Would it help if the individual had a business background? Sure, but it’s not absolutely necessary. Should a candidate be a graduate of one of those overblown leadership think tanks? Perhaps, but not if it’s the only significant thing on their resume (learning about leadership and actually being a leader are quite different).

    Previous experience in an elected position and a natural talent for persuasion? If we purport to be a “big” city, then we should have a strong mayor who literally emanates clout wherever he/she goes (especially in Denver, where it seems all the “big” decisions that ultimately affect Colorado Springs are made).

    Qualities to avoid? The local public (and probably most everywhere) trusts few in development, real estate, and banking. Extreme “left” or “right” wingnuts need not apply. We need a good centrist; the candidate should be an independent thinker who stands to reason and solve problems based on pragmatic reality (even when it’s not in line with their political affiliation and personal bias). They should be “purple,” and not hardcore red or blue. Hmm… does such a person exist in El Paso County?

    Yes, this city needs a “visionary.” But only if their ideology doesn’t trump their capacity to reason; a real visionary will roll up their sleeves and get the job done & not roll them up only for a photo op. The ability to think in both the short term AND long term should be a prerequisite for any candidate.

    That’s just for starters!

    April 2, 2010 at 9:54 am

  12. Bring back Lorne Kramer for the strong mayor position.

    April 2, 2010 at 10:31 am

  13. “Strong Mayor”, “Charismatic Visionary” . . . . ability to hire and fire at will.

    Open your eyes members of Citizens for Accountable Leadership. You are pawns in Bruce’s attempt to create a position that is not far from dictatorial and for which I am sure he would tell you he is best suited.

    And tell me, will you be happy when someone in that position makes decisons you don’t like. Or will you then insist on a City Manager that can be controlled.

    June 10, 2010 at 10:34 am