- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—CHEYENNE — The Cheyenne City Council agreed Tuesday to let voters decide whether to keep the strong mayor system now in place or hire a city administrator to run things.

The council voted 8-2 in favor of conducting a special election Nov. 10 where voters will decide.

Cheyenne Mayor Rick Kaysen and Councilman Jim Brown voted against the proposed ordinance.

Brown said he would not argue one way or the other about the merits of the two methods. That issue will be taken care of at the polls as it should be, he said.

But he said he could not support the proposal because it lacked a petition process of getting signatures from residents to get a measure on the ballot.

Councilman Dicky Shanor, however, said the state constitution provides several ways to get the issue to voters, not just a petition process.

The debate about the structure of city government in Cheyenne has gone on for decades, Shanor said.

“We have never let the people vote on it, and that’s wrong.”

The City Council’s vote on Tuesday is a step in the process and not the final decision on the ordinance.

The Committee of the Whole will consider the ordinance when it meets at 6 p.m. Aug. 5.

Then, the proposal will go before the City Council for a third and final reading at 6 p.m. Aug. 10.

A city administrator type of government would be a big change from how things operate now.

This form of government would significantly limit the powers of future mayors. A city administrator has expertise and training in operating cities.

A city administrator would do many of the jobs Mayor Kaysen does now. Those duties include preparing the budget, hiring department heads and enforcing city rules and regulations.

The Greater Chamber of Commerce has strongly supported the city administrator system.

Dale Steenbergen, president and chief executive officer of the chamber, said the average city saves 10 percent with a city administrator form.

“A city administrator would make decisions on budgets, on personnel, as a trained professional, coming up with the most efficient answer to the problem,” he said.

But Major Dorr of Cheyenne did not agree. “I believe there’s not a single elected official who can please everyone” all the time, he said.

He questioned why it was necessary to hire someone to do the same job as an elected official. “That automatically downgrades, kind of like a slap in the face to the elected official, which I am totally against,” he said.

Pete Laybourn of Cheyenne told the council that he supports the city administrator form of government.

“There has never been a more important issue at a more critical time in our community,” said Laybourn, a former City Council member.

A city administrator’s planning and execution is “much more effective, much more professional and much less dependent on personality and politics of the moment,” he said.

Landon Brown of Cheyenne also supported the ordinance. Casper has a city manager system and is a more progressive community than Cheyenne, he said.

But Boyd Wiggam of Cheyenne said a city administrator system could take away from checks and balances needed in running city government.

He also worried about a paid administrator being able to appoint city judges.


(c)2015 Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (Cheyenne, Wyo.)

Visit Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (Cheyenne, Wyo.) at www.wyomingnews.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


Topics: t000192727,t000002953,t000196941,t000164915,t000164911

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide