[Readers’ forum] Upcoming vote important

opinions

March 5, 2010 - 12:00 AM

When it comes to city commissions and municipal government, a name given to the original plan was “The Texas Idea.” That happened after a hurricane in 1900. From Wikipedia: “Voters elect a small commission, typically from five to seven…” “Individual commissioners are as-signed responsibility for a specific aspect of municipal affairs.”
Even though no hurricane was involved, there was a time when adopting this form of government was proper for Iola. But we’ve reached a time when continuing this form of government has passed. Our city election, held in April 2009, decreed that the commission form of government should be put to rest. The death of the city commission form of government was decided by a two to one voter margin. Our commission form of government was deceased. But at least two of our three city commissioners decided that a jury of voters was not reliable: the three-member commission should be resurrected in the form of five members.
Some of the jurors (voters) protested the commission action. In an appeal effort, the commission created an advisory committee of 14 jurors for a second opinion. The verdict came back to uphold the death penalty of the commission system by a nine to five vote. Still unwilling to be intimidated by voters, the commission decided to go to the supreme court of voters by financing an “advisory jury by vote.” But they worded this appeal to approve a “commission.” Our commissioners continue to ignore the better system of government available, a representative form of city government, known as the mayor-council system of government that was recommended by the advisory committee: the system that is a statutory replacement for the commission.
This vote by a jury of Iola voters will take place on April 6 at the First Baptist Church, 801 North Cottonwood. This should be the most important voting event of the day for Iola, even though the “commission” wording of the vote is included. The number of eight and a mayor is of greater importance considering the lack of proper definition by the commission. A mayor-council representative form of government to replace the administrative commission can be brought to life at a later date.
Or the city commissioners could do the right thing and just allow the statutorily designated solution to come to existence.

Ray Shannon
Iola, Kan.

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