Group favoring city manager for Annapolis ends effort Charter amendments are 'large step'

February 14, 1997|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

A long-running campaign to place the day-to-day business of Annapolis in the hands of a professional city manager is over.

Members of the Annapolis Citizens Committee for a City Manager announced the end yesterday of their efforts to place the city manager issue on the ballot, but vowed to keep a close eye on how well officials run their city.

The group is dropping its cause after the city council passed charter amendments aimed at reforming city government, including one measure that created the position of a city administrator to oversee daily operations.

"The city takes a fairly large step in the right direction to place responsibilities in a city administrator who has a professional zTC background," said Robert N. Slawson, committee co-chairman. "It renders our proposed charter amendment for a city manager out of date."

Slawson said he was disappointed that the council didn't go far enough in its reforms and failed to pass a measure that would "keep the aldermen from micro-managing the city staff."

The debate over making the mayor's job ceremonial and naming a professional manager has raged for decades. Slawson's group began its referendum drive in December 1995.

Under the committee's proposal, a city manager would write the budget, hire and fire department heads and oversee daily operations.

The council amended the charter in a year-long process that began with recommendations from the Duden panel -- for its chairman, Richard H. Duden -- officially the Annapolis Governmental Structure and Charter Revision Commission. That group did not recommend a city manager.

The council adopted the commission's recommendations to give voters the power to punish elected officials through recall and establish a commission to revise voting district boundaries and develop a study of the charter.

The council also transferred its authority to approve subdivisions and conditional-use applications to the Planning Commission and Board of Appeals.

Slawson says his group -- now called the Annapolis Citizens' Committee for Good Government -- approves of the changes, but believes more should be done.

The committee has asked Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins to set up a panel that will study potential candidates for the city administrator position and will ask the council to reconsider some proposed amendments that failed.

"The noninterference clause was designed to set limits on [the aldermen's] interaction with the city staff," Slawson said. "We hope to get the council to reconsider it in the future. We haven't given up on that particular concept."

Pub Date: 2/14/97

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