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Sunday, December 12, 2010

City Manager Powers and Idaho Code

We found this on the Lewiston City web page and wish to share this with our readers.  More than 50% of cities in the United States have made the move to Professional City Manager Government.  Idaho has only three cities with this form of government.  City Manager government is as close as cities can get to having their city run by a trained professional v. an elected likeable person.

City Manager

Lewiston is one of few communities in the State of Idaho to operate under the Council/Manager form of government, in accordance with the provisions of Idaho Code, Section 50-811. The City Manager is appointed by the City Council solely on the basis of the Manager’s administrative qualifications and abilities. The City Manager is a trained public management professional, educated and well versed in local government and municipal operations. The City Manager position is intended to be apolitical so that the Manager may objectively discharge his or her duties on behalf of the residents and businesses in the City of Lewiston. The specific duties of the City Manager are established by ordinance and include the following:

1.  Have the general control and supervision over all business of the City.

2.  See that the provisions of the Code and the ordinances and policies of the City, and the laws of the State pertaining to the City, are faithfully executed.

3.  Attend all meetings of the City Council, unless excused therefrom by the City Council.

4.  Recommend for adoption to the Council such measures as he may deem necessary or expedient.

5.  Appoint or remove all department heads, except the City Attorney, subject to approval of the Council, supervise and control all employees of the City subject to any applicable personnel regulations and make regular reports to the Council concerning actions he has taken with respect to employees of the City.

6.  Supervise in general all departments of the City, except the City Attorney.

7.  Keep the Council fully advised of the financial condition of the City and its future needs, and prepare and submit to the Council such other reports as may be required by the Council, or as he may deem advisable.

8.  Prepare and submit to the Council the preliminary budget for each fiscal year, and administer the budget after its adoption.

9.  Investigate all complaints in relation to matters concerning the administration of the government of the City and concerning the service maintained by the public utilities of the City.

10.  Exercise general supervision over all public buildings, public parks, public streets, and other public properties which are under the jurisdiction and control of the City.

11.  Serve as ex-officio member of such boards and commissions of the City as may be determined by the Council, with the right to participate in all deliberations, but without vote.

12.  Devote his full time to the duties and interests of the City.

13.  Exercise all powers delegated to the Mayor by Idaho Code, Section 50-606.

14.  Perform such other duties as the Council may establish by ordinance, resolution or motion.

15.  The City Manager’s office is also directly responsible for supervising and administering the functions of the City Clerk’s office.

Caldwell nearly passed City Manager form of government back in the early 1990,s.  It was supported by the sitting mayor, previous mayors and a host of citizens interested in trying to get a better and more professionally managed Caldwell.  The measure lost by 19 votes.

Caldwell and Nampa are $50 and $100 Million dollar corporations.  We would think most people would want to hire the best possible professional management they possibly could to run corporations of this size and financial responsibility.  You would never think of  going out and electing a CEO for a corporation of either of these cities size, yet we give little to no thougth to electing mayors to do virtually the same job because they are "likeable" people and can get themselves elected.

Professional management is an option we have in the Idaho Code Toolbox but it will take the will of the people to make this transition.


  1. I think it would be a very good idea to change to a city manager who has the training and experiance to run our cities like a business . Of course those who benifit from the current system would fight tooth and nail against it.

  2. Jeri says..
    A Professional City Manager may not cure all city problems but I can certainly see a competent professional along side a good city attorney a definite plus for any community.

    The back door dealings along with all the good ol'boy dealings would decrease dramatically.

    I would also add a professional county manager would not have us in the Bujak mess that just seems to get more ugly with each passing revelation.

  3. C..says

    I can't help but comment about having/needing a county manager. KIVI had a piece on the Commissioner/Bujak fiasco on the early evening news and it appears the county will have to refund $170,000 to Bujak's bankruptcy receiver.

    Seems that any monies paid out by Bujak within 90 days of filing for bankruptcy were paid out illegally. It all goes back in the pot so that all claims get equal payment.

    This deal with Bujak and the bungling by the commissioners gets more and more ugly. County may end up losing half a million before we see the end of this mess. Commissioners have done a lot of finger pointing and done everything except take responsibility here. Bujak had lousy credit, they knew it and still let him divert $600k of taxpayer money to his private account.

    We have to ask ourselves if a county manager would have put this much trust in Mr. Bujak?

  4. It is no secret that I support this concept. When we ran it the last time in Caldwell I was in good company The seated mayor Jim Daken and the 3 previous mayors supported us. Oh and so did Garret Nancolas, he was on the promotional team. It was a good idea then and it is a good idea now.My question is to Councilmen Daken and to Mayor Nancolas is it still a good idea?

  5. After so many years in government, Councilman Daken and Mayor Nancolas will no doubt be against this type of system.

  6. Santa says..

    It's great idea, but as long as most of the people in this area have no clue about what is going on, the local TV news thinks the weather is the huge topic of news everyday, the newspapers are not interested in anything unless it comes to them as a press release from city hall we will continue with the status quo skipping down the yellow brick road.

    Nancolas continues to tell us we have to be patient (13-14 years is not long enough)for him and his administration to turn Caldwell around. The County Commissioners are not incompetent despite the Bujak mess, Nampa is going to make millions off the destruction of their police building and the library when they find a fool willing to think the same way they do.

    I have this picture of Nero playing the fiddle while Nancolas and Dale are singing to everyone with the county commissioners sing back-up harmony. Everything is just wonderful and they only need another hundred million more for projects nobody wanted or asked for in the first place.

    You people who think you should get to vote on debt are just a distraction.

  7. This change will probably never happen for two reasons:
    1. City Council could vote this in...hmm won't happen

    2. Enough interested citizens sign a petetion and we can vote it in...hmmm probably won't happen.

    Interested and citizens are for the most part mutually exclusive things in Caldwell.

  8. GK says...

    With a degreed professional county manager type government, the Bujak fiasco would never have taken place.

    Also millions of Canyon County Taxpayers dollars for a new jail would not have been wasted on land purchases, engineers and architectual fees, new furniture that was stolen, and how many expensive bond elections?

    We really need profesionals to run our cities and counties. Let an elected board oversee a professional manager.

  9. GK also says..

    There is a tounge in cheek joke that has often made the rounds in Canyon County that goes something like this:" One of the qualifications for being a Canyon County Commissioner is, that you must have declared bankruptcy." Two of our current county commissioners meet this requirement.

    I don't believe there is any life experience that can adequately prepare a person to be a county commissioner other than a college degree in government management.
    For example: a University of Idaho professor made a study of of Idaho's county commissioners. By Idaho law, county commissioners have over l,l00 duties & responsibilities.

  10. Agree with GK,

    We don't ever need more jails, ever.
    They are a waste of money and we should find ways to close the one we have. Police budgets are a bottomless black hole and could be better spent on schools for our kids.

  11. I would disagree with the notion we don't need jails. We do need them and we need a dedicated police force to help enforce our laws.

    The problem we have is we are not putting the right people in jail and prison. You fight crime by taking the head off the snakes or leaders of organized crime. Locking up street level thugs just creates more job opportunities for another low life to take the previous creeps place. You win a war by going after COMMMAND AND CONTROL.

    Also, throwing more money at schools does not produce a better product. Schools approach education as if every kids will go to college...everyone knows that is not the case. We need to be teaching life skills as well as academics.

    I went to a Wendy's in Boise last week and the bill came to $11.00 on the nose. I gave the kid at the cashregister $21.00 and he came to a grinding halt. He could not extrapolate I wanted a $10 bill back for change. Pretty sad commentary on basic life skills for this young man.

  12. Most people in jail aren't guilty and have been arrested by a crooked self perpetuating tax and spend system. Just watch the next they say they need your money. Crime will miraculously go up so they can write more tickets and levy more fines to help pay for it all. Jail is filled with people who can't pay. If you believe otherwise you are part of the system.


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