Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Council member opposes plan to shrink Metro Council

I have yet to see a strong argument that persuades me that shrinking the Metro Council will make that body a force with which the Mayor will have to reckon in the future. The arguments in favor are either partisan, histrionic or contrived. On the other side, opponents of shrinking the Metro Council issue all kinds of intelligent warnings about the risks entailed so that even at my most open moments to being partial to a smaller council, they pull me back to rationality.

Take CM Fabian Bedne who posted his opposition yesterday on Facebook:
Some people are tempted to change the size of the Council because they believe that the larger numbers contribute to the perceived weakness of the Council as compared to the power given by the Metro Charter to the Executive (Mayor). Although there could be an argument made that the Charter slants the balance of power toward the Executive, a reduction in the number of council members would do little to alter the perceived balance of power.

Our Metro system of government allows regular citizens to run for a council seat. We elect members from all backgrounds with deep roots in the community, that understand what really needs to be done to make communities flourish -- both large and small. If we need to change anything, it should be in the direction of how to encourage more of our neighbors to run for Metro Council.

If the concern is to strengthen the Council there are better ways to do so. An increase in the Council's budget could provide staff members to do research about proposed legislation that would be a tremendous benefit to council members. Additionally, funds from a budget increase could be used to educate council members about issues and processes.

Cannot argue with the logic. To believe that size alone is cause of council weakness is foolishness. CM Bedne sees that from the inside.

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