Thursday, June 3, 2010
San Diego city councilwoman Donna Frye says the strong mayor form of government is costing San Diego more money and cutting access to the Mayor.
San Diego City Councilwoman Donna Frye says the strong mayor form of government is costing San Diego more money and cutting access to the mayor.
Frye says her analysis of costs since the strong mayor experiment began five years ago shows it is costing the city a million dollars a year more.
“That’s $5 million that could have been used for public safely,” she said, “instead of paying for these strong mayor staff salaries.”
Frye says the mayor’s office costs 45 percent more than the city manager’s office did, even though there are fewer staff. She says since the mayor no longer has to attend council meetings, there is less public access to the halls of power.
But Councilman Kevin Faulconer, who supports the strong mayor form of government, says it saves money because the balance of power between the mayor and council has tightened controls on city spending. He says the budget process is more transparent now that the council has its own independent budget analyst..
“I believe San Diegans do not want us to go back to an unelected city bureaucrat running the day to day operations of the city,” Faulconer said. “That hid so much information from the city council. I believe there’s been a stronger role for both the council and the mayor.”
San Diego city residents will decide at the polls next week whether to make the five year experiment permanent.