I liked Bob Pauls take on power issues, though I don't agree with his conclusions on Brad's power grid take over. I found his writings on the form of Carbondale City government to ignore history and be far off base. I thought I might comment a little.
A little history on forms of government. For centuries, there were few forms of governments that survived. The ones that worked, generally having to do with superstitions, swords and/or gold. With the creation of the printing press, it became possible to invent new forms of organizations and publicize them. Things like religious offshoots (Lutherans for example) sprang up and became popular. Around the time of the American Civil War, there was a rush of new forms of government invented, in a golden age of government invention, that continued into the 20th century and then died down.
The modern elementary school was one form of government, as was the strong city manager form. Others of note, included communism, socialism, world government, the UN and the League of Nations. Don't forget the public university and normal universities, they were invented then too. Oh wait, the League of Nations is a superhero thing right? I always get confused. :)
Each of the forms of government was invented to solve a perceived or real problem and what we know now is that each of them has failed in one way or another. Now we are going to have to reinvent them or change them into a different form. You can see this happening right before our eyes in all of these new types of governments, as we get more wealth and/or more or less time, the world changes.
Let's do a truth table and see what that takes us -
First question, do you think that Carbondale has done as well has it should have done over the last 20 or 30 years? Or since 1946? Please separate the success of SIU from Carbondale if you can.
Second question, do you think that the city manager form of government works?
Third question, if you think the city manager form of government works, aren't you obligated to fire the current city manger for incompetence?
I think that Carbondale hasn't done nearly as well as it should have over the last 20 or 30 years, until 4 years ago, when we had our lucky Vista Volunteer work as Mayor full time and then things magically got better.
I don't think the city manager form of government works for Carbondale, but if you do, that means you think our current city manager sucks and needs to be fired. I think the form of government is broken (at least for us, it is OK if other people want to have ineffective city government) and we need to switch.
Anyone want to argue that Carbondale has been doing well over the last 30 years? Anyone want to fire the city manger for incompetence and get a new one? Maybe Carol Fry can come back and stink the place up again?
I wrote Bob a great comment about his ridiculous complaint that Brad is working too hard for the city. I asked him what level of work should we limit our mayor and city council? Is the right number 10 hours a week or 15 or 20 or 40 or 60? I asked him if there was a law limiting the amount of work an elected official could do? Brad's real power is working harder then everyone else. It isn't direct power, it is figuring things out though hard work and driving the agenda. He did it before he was mayor too. By the end of the Neil Dillard era, Brad already had control of the important parts city council agenda. That is the advantage of work.
There are lots of examples in modern society of beliefs that are supposed to solve one problem, but don't work. Heart stints, Untracked Classrooms, and Communism are good examples. In Carbondale, the city manager form of government has not been working. It may or may not solve some corruption problems, but Carbondale has lots of good old boy favors happening anyway. It would be better to enforce the current anti-corruption laws and have a form of government that works for the citizens of the city, then have the city fail because of its form of government.
It is time to examine this 100 year old experiment of government and decide if it works for this city. If it hasn't worked for this city and we should start a new experiment, with a better form of government.
Your comments are welcome.