Austin for All People is a grassroots coalition of concerned Austin residents and voters. Its’ purpose is to educate the public and oppose the proposed charter amendment that would radically change the City of Austin’s governance system by replacing the current council-manager form of government with a strong mayor form of government.
A4AP believes every resident of Austin should have agency and involvement in local government and that a switch in the governance system would negatively impact the city and transfer even more power from the people of Austin into the hands of the politically connected.
Why does a council-manager form of government work for Austin?
A council-manager form of government provides a balanced system of democracy. Under this system, elected officials are required to work together for the betterment of the city, and a city manager is held accountable for implementing the policies and laws that are passed.
City managers have the experience necessary to manage a city’s finances and budget to ensure a sound financial future for the government which in turn, ensures taxpayer dollars are being spent as intended. Strong financial management also is critical in providing city services to citizens.
Access is widened under a city manager. People can call the city manager’s office for immediate help when politicians may not always be as responsive to their constituents or be able to immediately fix the problems.
What is a strong mayor form of government?
A strong mayor form of government is one in which the elected mayor is given almost total administrative authority and political independence, with the power to appoint and dismiss staff without council approval or public input.
In this system, the strong mayor prepares and administers the city budget. He or she is not a member of the city council and may choose not to attend council meetings.
City managers focus citywide for all people, not just those that elect them. Managers can focus on the operational needs of the community by getting outside the bubble and echo chamber.
City managers are invested in administering good government that works for people and meets their needs. They understand that detailed operation management of the city – how departments work, deliver services to citizens and do it effectively – is crucial for a well-run city.
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We are a coalition of concerned Austinites working to educate the public about the benefits of our current council-manager form of government and the potential negative impact of the proposed move to a strong mayor form of government.
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