On Tuesday, April 8, the voters of the city’s First Ward will “hire” someone to be their City Council representative for the next three years. Maybe it would be prudent for us to step back from our passions and friendships and take a look at the “job description” for this important position.
The city charter states that “all powers of the city shall be vested in an elective council, hereafter referred to as ‘the council,’ which shall enact local legislation, adopt budgets, determine policies, and appoint the city manager, who shall execute the laws and administer the government of the city.” That’s the job of a council person.
The basic qualification for the job is that the “council members elected by wards shall be residents and qualified voters of the respective wards from which they are elected.” That’s a pretty low bar. Surely, we voters are looking for more than that in a candidate.
We need an effective council person who has a grasp of the law-making process and appreciates the importance of each and every vote that is cast. Each decision affects someone’s life or livelihood.
We need an effective council person who is curious about the budget figures and is willing to dive in to see how money streams can change the course of our city’s future. Working with a budget of more than $338 million is not for the “figures challenged” person.
We need an effective representative who understands that broad policies either empower or stifle creative progress toward a better community for all residents. A view larger than one’s own life experiences is most important.
We need an effective council person who is able to maintain a relationship of mutual respect and accountability with the city manager. The city manager cannot move the city forward without the support of the council. The council can accomplish nothing without the support of the city manager. Civility is essential.
We need a bright, creative person who can use the nuts and bolts of government to implement the dreams circulating in the heart of Columbia. We need a leader who can bring out the best in central Columbia.
I believe the candidate who has these abilities and can use them to implement policies and legislation and budget lines for real change in the First Ward, is Paul Sturtz. Please join me in voting for Paul on April 8!