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Where's Our Strong Mayor?

By Kris Royer Henninger · February 4th, 1999 · Burning Questions
At a Jan. 30 meeting of the Cincinnati Democratic Committee, members could not agree on whether to get behind Build Cincinnati, the bipartisan group that has been working on a city charter amendment for more than a year.

The charter amendment would result in direct election of a mayor and an 11-member council, instead of the current system of electing a nine-member council with the top vote-getter being declared mayor.

Critics of the current system have said that the mayor is just a figurehead, does not have the authority to get things done and cannot be held accountable for his or her actions.

Given the number of failed attempts there have been to change the system to one in which the mayor is directly elected, is it possible that not all agree that Cincinnati's top vote-getter system is all that bad?

"I believe that the majority of the people in the Democratic Party believe that the current method of electing the mayor is not effective," said Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Tim Burke.

The difficulty has been building consensus within the party on how to change the system as there are several ideas about how to do that, he said.

Some of the ideas discussed are to directly elect the mayor through partisan primaries or through non-partisan primaries in which the top two candidates run against one another, Burke said.

And some people want to go back to the system in which the nine members elected to council choose the mayor, he said.



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