Mayor/Ward Vs. City Commission

Bryan Dubois
Mar 23, 2010


This debate needs to happen, and it needs to happen far in advance to putting it on a ballot for approval by the citizens of Sandusky.

With the current dissatisfaction with city government and it's lack of accountability, which system would promote accountability more:

The current system in which you elect commissioners who have control over the unelected city manager:

Or an elected mayor whose job depends on the citizens' satisfaction and the satisfaction of elected commissioners.

Let's discuss.


Karl Hungus-Mr....

Back in 2002 I was all for the Mayor/Ward way of doing business back in 2002 when it was voted on by the city residents.

Now, 7 years later and looking at it a bit deeper I have changed my mind.

One of the biggest advantages of the current system is that it is easier to get rid of the City Manager.  If he was elected you would have to have recall petitions, and a giant expense and mess.  With the current system you just need a majority of City Commissioners to agree on it.

Now, I am sure that a number of people that read this will look at our current "leaders" and laugh the above paragragh off.  They may have a point, however, would going through a recall yeild any different result?

We could go on for pages and pages about the pros and cons of both systems, but let me ask you this:

Does Sandusky have enough qualified people within its borders to elect a new qualified person to be a full-time Mayor every 4 or 8 years?

Would these qualified people be willing to quit their normal day job inorder to take a job that only would last 4-8 years?

Would the people that were seeking the Mayor job "Murray" us?  In other words would they just use us as a stepping stone for a higher office, and leave a mess behind?

City Girl

To Karl Hungus:  A point to consider is that a recall is not always necessary to change the course of action for elected officials.  If a mayor is elected, quits his day job, and maintains the duties of the city, he is going to pay attention more carefully to public opinion.  Right now, Kline doesn't give a rip about what the town thinks of him.  He only needs to worry about the opinion of four of the seven commissioners.  An elected mayor would have to consider re-election when making his decisions. 

Karl Hungus-Mr....

Yes sure that is a point, but what if the elected Mayor does not "give a flip" about getting re-elected?  Who in Sandusky would take the job and be qualified for it?

Bryan Dubois


Of all the current (possible) candidates, who, in your estimation, is not qualified to be mayor?

Who is qualified to be mayor?

Also:  For the city manager to keep his job, he must only make four (4) people happy.  Right  now he's keeping the Stahl Voting Bloc (SVB) happy and as long as he does that, he has nothing to fear.  If he was an elected official we would be able to get rid of him by recall, or by election.

Like you said, there are pros and cons to both systems, but I disagree with your claim that there are no qualified candidates in the city.  Anyone with executive experience can step into that role and do it better than it's being done now.

The city has a handful of true leaders, but the current system is tying their hands behind their backs because they're in the minority.

If the mayor/ward proponents lay their foundation now - as opposed to waiting until right before the election to state their case - this change of government has a chance on the November ballot.

The cons need to step up and explain why a change of government would be a bad thing, because as time goes on, more and more information is going to presented to the public about how city officials are managing the city - and Sanduskians are going to be ready to vote the change in because they want accountability - somebody to blame and demand answers.  Nobody is getting that from Mr. Stahl right now and Kline doesn't understand the importance of managing complaints as I'm learning right now.

Karl Hungus-Mr....

Who is qualified??  Good question, I think the more imporant question would be "Why would someone with the proper qualifications take a temporary job?"  

What ever happened to any of the recall petitions for the commissioners?  A recall is not as easy as just snapping your is not as cheap either.

What happens if nobody in the city limits wants the job?  Or worse yet, what if the only person that runs for Mayor is a complete idiot.  Look at our current situation with the Kevin Baxter.  Nobody will run against him and there is no term limit so he will have that job for life.  What happens if you get a mayor like that?  Wait, Baxter lives in Sandusky!  So it could happen....yikes!!!! 

Enough of that nightmare....if recalls were so simple Baxter should have been gone a long time ago.


The one problem that I see is that five of the commissioners would have to be elected from the five districts. This sometimes leads to the same problem we have in our Congress. Each candidate wants to do what is right for his district, to get re-elected, and not what is necessarily good for the rest of the city as a whole. This in turn can lead to a standoff or a you pat my back and I will pat your back scenario. Government can come to a stand still just like our congress does many times. Maybe if we elected the seven commissioners just like we do now, seven at large, it might work. One thing is clear, what we have is not working. If the word change can work for Obama why not for us as a city. If it doesn't work we can always go back to our present system by voteing the Mayor/Ward system out.

City Girl

Would a candidate with a degree in organizational leadership qualify?  How about Kim Nuesse?


1) your chain is wrong. Citizens would be at the top. Then strong mayor, then 3 ward/councilmen as advisory to the mayor.

2) yes, there are plenty of current commissioners (3) and city leaders available to do the job of Mayor.

3) Qualification is simple: resident of the city. Willing to lead.

4) After elected you have 4 years to PROVE your leadership. Either the city is better off or were not. Vote again.

This person would be resposible to hire good people around him (law director & finance director). With these three people working as a team to keep their jobs, they would work to make the city better. Right now there is too much "blame game" and wink-wink going on.