Weakening Mayoral Power Makes Cooperation Difficult | WGLT

Weakening Mayoral Power Makes Cooperation Difficult

Nov 21, 2017

A proposal in Bloomington that would impinge the ability of the mayor to control the council agenda is a fundamental change in Bloomington's form of government, according to the Town of Normal mayor. 

Chris Koos has been mayor since 2003. He says the Bloomington proposal will affect his ability cooperate with the city. He joins others in wondering if the move is legal. 

"A council's and mayor's duties are pretty clearly defined, as are the city manager's in the form of government, in the charter that set the form of government in place. And to do that to a mayor, in my opinion, it would make my ability to try to cooperate with the city that much more difficult," said Koos during GLT's Sound Ideas.

Koos explained that it would be difficult to determine who was driving a particular agenda item. He said currently he meets with Mayor Tari Renner about once a week. Koos said under the proposal he'd have six people to talk with if the proposal from Alderman David Sage were to be approved.

The rule change in Bloomington would require five aldermen to sign an aldermanic request form to place items on the agenda and eliminate the mayor's ability to add items to the agenda, although the mayor could join the council in signing off on an agenda item.

Koos also questioned whether the move is legal.

"There are some people that argue that doing that to the mayor is illegal, that it's not even legal to do that, to take powers away from the mayor by council action," said Koos.

Koos said serving as mayor of Normal, he works with the city manager to delay agenda items that may not be ready for council consideration or pushing forward agenda items the council thinks are priorities. He also said Normal Town Council members can place items on the agenda.

"There is a mechanism and I can honestly tell you I don't know what it is, in terms of how many council members it takes," said Koos. "I know it's codified, but frankly we've never had to deal with that issue so that's why I don't know."  

Koos said town staff and council are guided by annual strategic planning to help set priorities that drive items on the agenda.

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