Marshfield aldermen briefed on forms of city government
For the Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD – Marshfield aldermen heard a presentation on July 14, stemming from questions that arose during the investigative mayoral hearings in late March: does the city have the right form of government in place? And if not, is now the time to make a change, with the mayor’s office sitting empty?
The common council heard from the foremost experts on the subject – Executive Director Jerry Deschane and Deputy Executive Director Curt Witynski from the League of Wisconsin Municipalities. When it comes to choosing a form of government, Deschane told the council there is no right or wrong answer.
Witynski did note that Marshfield currently has the most popular form of government used by Wisconsin cities – a part-time mayor and a full-time city administrator governed by an elected council.
Back in April when the council was deciding whether to appoint an interim mayor, hold a special election, or leave the office vacant until the next regular general election, Alder Rebecca Spiros said she was interested in hearing more about removing the mayor and city administrator positions, and switching to a city manager. Witynski said that position would be hired by the common council.
Witynski noted that only 10 Wisconsin cities currently use the council-manager form of government. Deschane said advocates for that style of government will tell you city operations are more insulated from political pressures. But, he also said what Marshfield has now gives the council the most freedom to define what level of autonomy the administrator has.
About a dozen Wisconsin cities, including Wisconsin Rapids, Wausau and Stevens Point, have a full-time mayor with no manager or administrator.
Marshfield aldermen only heard the league’s presentation, and did not have a discussion on the matter or take any votes.