City and County Managers v Directly Elected Mayors

I was just listening to Senator Senator Niall Ó Brolcháin on The Last Word and both him and Richard Boyd Barrett seemed very keen on getting rid of City and County Managers and introducing directly mayors with Executive powers.

My own view is that City and County management has worked well. George Redmond being the only example of corruption I can think of. I prefer a salaried professional administrator appointed by an independent board rather than more jobs and powers for the politicians.

Am I wrong?

Another layer of bureaucracy. I noticed he didn’t answer the question of whether city or county managers would be turfed out if a mayor comes in. Two chances of that, so it’s another illusion of democracy at work.

DCC city manager be elected; snorts of laughter.

Directly elected local executives should be favoured on general principles. I hope none of those who rant on about quangos will voice opposition to this idea. Unqualified opposition to a general proposal without idenified flaws indicates a simple lack of faith in democracy.

At present, national government ministers have no experience of administration on taking office. A career path that didn’t involve years sitting on the backbenches in Leinster House could only be welcomed. Directly elected figures would focus people’s attention on what is a very important sector of government in terms of its influence on people’s lives. It would provide for accountability and provide an independent powerbase outside the parliamentary party for successful officeholders.

This sort of basic reform is not only welcome, it is decades overdue.

Well, so far all I see is a general proposition that looks like a new parallel system of government for Dublin that adds to the existing parallel systems without taking any of them away. The comparisons with London are a little bogus as the GLC disbandment merely moved the functions it supported into a series of ad-hoc arrangements that proved worse than the madness that was the GLC. Reuniting those disparate functions under a London mayor made sense. I don’t see any proposals so far to put anything under the authority of a Dublin mayor.

Besides, we already have elected mayors…

Specific objections to specific proposals may be reasonable but objections to the idea itself (as I was replying to) are not. Naturally, as with any proposal, it may be implemented well or badly and may constitute serious reform or mere window dressing. That doesn’t alter the soundness of the general principle. I would claim that local administrators with an direct mandate independent of their parties’ parliamentary organisation could only be a good thing.

Mayors are currently elected by Councils, corporations etc. not by the electorate generally. Mayors and councils currently control no significant budgets and have no administrative authority.

Mayors are elected from elected officials. The system mirrors the Dail…
Councils have huge budgets. What’chu’talkin’bout’willis?

DCC: … venue.aspx

So, over a billion a year? Heading towards 1% of GNP? Not significant?

In 2007, total local government expenditure amounted to about 10 bn euro ( … 433,en.doc ), with current expenditure making up 4.7 bn of that.

The idea that there is a want of funding or a want of administrations is not tenable.

What is required, in my view, (shite, I’m beginning to sound like Gormley), is capable administration that crosses narrow boundaries and overlaps. To be honest, I’d be looking to scrap the local councils and instead retain them as the basis for wards that elect to regional councils - one for each province, one for Dublin, one for Cork, possibly one for Limerick, eh, that’s it, I think. Slim down the duplicate services, but mostly remove the duplicate responsibilities.

A mayor with real executive power would be a good thing but it’ll likely be just another mess.

I really think a lot of government functions should go to local councils. We all complain about the way TDs get tied up fixing roads and a lot of other piddling local crap, that’s just a symptom of too much power being in the hands of the national government. We also see the way laws are never properly enforced, national schemes are never run properly while local stuff is often out of people’s hands completely.

Proper local government taxed and funded locally with responsibilities for law enforcement, infrastructure and education would go a long way towards fixing at least some of the problems we currently have.

Mayors are elected by councils, corporations etc. not directly and have basically no power. Nor do councils have significant powers. The county managers etc. have the real power and they are appointees instead of elected officials.