A meeting of the Pueblo city council yesterday considered a citizens-group proposal to change the city charter and replace the present city manager with a bona fide city mayor. A new Denver-style strong mayor would advance interests and get things done, advocates say. That’s the good news. It’s also the bad news. The council doesn’t like the idea. They like their “weak mayor” system. They don’t need a decider.
“What if you get a strong mayor who discovers he’s in over his head?” asked an expert advising the council. No one mentioned the Bush years but the specter of the nation’s former “strong mayor” haunts the story.
Visiting Director of the Colorado Municipal League Sam Mamet told the council that few cities governed by the council-city manager system opt to replace it with a mayoral system. In fact, the trend is to get rid of mayors in favor of city managers.
Mamet noted that Aurora has a weak mayor system and flirted with changing to a strong mayor several years ago, but dropped the idea after further study.
Council members didn’t question Mamet so much as use his appearance to repeat their opposition to the effort by the Citizens to Assess Local Mayorship (CALM).
Councilman Larry Atencio voiced what you might call the Ninth Ward Hurricane Katrina Objection:
I doubt a mayor would ever be elected from my part of town. They would get elected from the more affluent areas.
Atencio said he would prefer Pueblo had no mayor at all.