Mission City Councilor Lawrence Andre has proposed changing the form of government to give the city council more direct authority.
Andre proposed the idea at a council committee meeting last week that Mission change to a city manager form of government where the manager is hired by the council and reports to the council. Mission currently has a city administrator who reports to the mayor while the council maintains the legislative and policy function.
While several councilors last week said they were willing to consider the change in form, Andre wants it to happen before the new mayor and council are seated in the elections April 1. Current Mayor Laura McConwell opposes that idea. The minutes from that meeting reflect that she wants the new mayor and council to be the ones considering the change.
Neither Andre or McConwell is running for re-election. That is another reason Andre believes the time is right. It should not be a political issue, Andre said in an email, and it is hard to bring it up as an incumbent or a candidate.
Andre said the city has been “well served” by moving to a professional staff under McConwell. She hired a strong city administrator and delegates the work, Andre said, and he believes in professional staff running local government. Switching to a city manager and making that position the “CEO of the city” will give the staff and government body better delineation of roles, he said.
Making the change now would set the next governing body up for success, he said. Several councilors last week suggested continuing the discussion with help from outside organizations. The issue was not raised at the council meeting Wednesday night. Andre was out of town and did not attend.
Only one council meeting is scheduled before the election. Besides McConwell and Andre, who are not running, two of the three incumbents seeking re-election to the council have challengers.