Columbia voters set to decide if they want a new form of governm - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Columbia voters set to decide if they want a new form of government

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Columbia voters will decide Tuesday whether or not they want a new form of government.

If voters approve the change from Council-Manager form of government to Mayor-Council form of government, the change will be implemented on July 1, 2014.

The League of Women Voters have compiled a list of frequently asked questions before voters head to the polls Dec. 3.

What is the major difference distinguishing the two forms of municipal government?

Mayor-Council: The mayor has the right to exercise executive and administrative authority, and votes as a member of council.

Council-Manager: The mayor has no powers beyond voting as a member of council.

What is the role of the city manager in each form of municipal government?

Mayor-Council: With council approval, the mayor may hire an administrator to assist in carrying out administrative functions. The city administrator reports directly to mayor.

Council-Manager: The manager serves as the chief executive officer and head of the administrative branch. Council has the power to hire and fire city manager. City manager reports directly to Council.

How does each form of municipal government affect the current 4-2-1 form of city governance?

For both, there's no change. This aspect of city governance is independent of the form of government.

Who controls the annual budget?

Mayor-Council: The mayor prepares the budget and submits it to council for amendment and approval. Mayor administers and reports the budget and financial's to council.

Council-Manager: The manager prepares the budget and submits it to council for amendment and approval. Manager administers and reports the budget and financial's to council.

Do the mayor and council members have direct involvement in hiring, firing, or directly dealing with city employees?

Mayor-Council: The mayor has oversight of city departments and day-to-day operations and is responsible for all personnel decisions except as otherwise provided by law and council. The council does not participate.

Council-Manager: The manager has oversight of city departments and day-to-day operations and is responsible for all personnel decisions except as otherwise provided by law and council. The council does not participate.

Is it necessary for the mayor to build consensus in order to accomplish goals?

For both, yes. The legislative function remains with council under both forms of municipal government. The council is responsible for policy, the "what" and "why" of issues.

Here's is what you will see when you head to the polls:

Shall the municipality of the City of Columbia change its form of government from Council-Manager Form of Government to Mayor-Council Form of Government?

  • YES
  • NO

"Those in favor of the question shall deposit a ballot with a check or cross mark in the square after the word 'YES', and those voting against the question shall deposit a ballot with a check or cross mark in the square after the word 'NO'."

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