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Meeker Says Raleigh Needs Full-Time Mayor

Posted January 26, 2007

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— Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker thinks his job should be full-time. That’s how it works in most large cities in the U.S.

Tampa, Fla., and Pittsburgh are about the same size as Raleigh, and both have full time mayors. Even Richmond, Va., which is considerably smaller, has a full-time mayor.

All of North Carolina's big cities, including Raleigh and Charlotte, have mayors who only work part time, however.

Sometimes Raleigh’s City Council is solidly behind a project. Fayetteville Street and the Convention Center are examples. Other times, though, issues get stuck, such as a proposal for traffic circles on Hillsborough Street.

Mayor Charles Meeker thinks the person who occupies his office should have more power to move things along than comes from having one vote.

“People expect the mayor to get things done, yet the mayor doesn't have any formal authority to do so,” Meeker argues.

Right now, Raleigh has a city manager form of government. The city manager acts as a CEO, running day-to-day operations.

Not everyone agrees with Meeker.

“I think the system we have now forces us to work together, to listen to each other and forces us to come up with solutions to problems and also to work for compromise,” says Council Member Jessie Taliaferro.

Critics of Meeker’s idea say a mayor in charge could lead to inefficiency. Voters could elect someone who doesn't have the training to run a city, they say.

The North Carolina League of Municipalities says the city manager form of government has served the state well. The group’s leaders say that shifting more power to the mayor would be a huge change for the state.

Peace College political science Professor David McLennan says he believes there's room for compromise.

“You could keep the city manager doing all the day-to-day operations and have a mayor involved in more strategic and public relations kinds of duties,” McLennan suggests.
8 Comments

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  • jthiespowell Jan 28, 2007

    Yankees? Get over it....change is what makes good things happen. Good lord the war is over and you lost.

  • todd75m Jan 27, 2007

    It's all well and good, but my problem is with their salaries.. I remember reading the Durham city or county manager that got in trouble for the no bid contracts.. Chick made over 150k, Wake county sherriff about the same, and the sherriff's assistant was 6 figures.. Me I find these salaries rediculous! Especially as a public servant.. They should make no more than 20% over the average for salaries in the area.. So that should slice them at least in half. 75K is alot of money!!!!! But what the hell do I know... I hope this guy isn't out for the $$$$...

  • My2centsworth Jan 27, 2007

    This is why I got our of the city. The Northern exposure is really showing now. I'd rather live amongst the mexicans than the yankees!! Mexicans leave you alone, Yankees think they know everything and want to change erverything.

  • finallysingle Jan 27, 2007

    nthomas42 - Thanks,you saved me from typing..agreed

  • MizzZeta Jan 27, 2007

    I would like to see the city's vision take a more progressive stance before increasing the bureaucracy. Many services and events still take place on a small-town scale, rendering the prospect of increased local government -and costs- a dim one.

  • districtcadvocate Jan 27, 2007

    I agree with claytonvmax. This issue needs to be investigated and discussed on all the media outlets.

    Local government needs to be the most responsive to the voters. It is suggested that manager - council form of government favors the business sector. I would submit that what Mrs. Block, Dist D, council woman did was insure that the citizens had a larger role, there by increasing the leverage of their elected part-council representatives.

    Now, while Raleigh is growing expontentially, the destination of so many, straining our capacity in every manner, the citizens have less influence over the way things are done.

    I applaud my mayor, Charles Meeker, for bringing this matter to the public's attention. I agree with him that the mayor, and I do believe every council person needs to be full time and with some staff so they can balance the growing bureaucracy of city government with the needs of the voters. Currently this is not the case.

  • superman Jan 27, 2007

    of course Meeker wants it to be full time--this nerd couldnt find a full time job in his sanitation department based on his ability. He should be employed full time tempoary in the sanitation department like he did other hard working guys who wanted to make an honest living. The system is working just fine now. The responsibity is shared now-- as it should be.

  • claytonvmax Jan 26, 2007

    All that and no mention of salary? After all what is part time? And what is the pay and benefits, I dont' mean health insurance.

    It's all about the bucks WRAL, put some meat on this story.