MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

May 8, 2012

Time for a four-year mayor

Muskogee Mayor Bob Coburn is a man with a plan.

Too bad he might not have enough time to see his agenda come to fruition.

That’s because —unlike the eight city councilors he works with — he faces a re-election bid after a two-year term.

Councilors serve for four years, but the mayor serves for only two.

The vice mayor frequently has more tenure than the mayor.

Robert Perkins served in that role for years.

It’s time to change the city charter to make mayor a four-year term.

Mayor is a ceremonial title in Muskogee. But, the mayor does preside over City Council meetings and sets the agenda for those meetings.

And, if you watched mayoral elections in this city, you know that citizens here feel the mayor is more than ceremonial. Check the voting turnout for John Tyler Hammons’ two election bids.

Citizens believe the mayor can have an impact on the city.

This is not a plea for a strong-mayor form of city government. This city is too big to be run by a citizen who works part-time as the head of city government.

The city manager must continue to run the day-to-day operations of the city.

A city manager is a full-time employee and has the expertise to run a city.

But, the mayor should have the same tenure as the other councilors.

In the next election, the mayor will be the only member of the council elected at-large.

The next mayor will be the only member of the council elected to represent the entire city.

That makes the mayor’s agenda more critical than the other councilors.

And that makes a four-year mayoral term imperative.

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