Richard Johnson: It’s Time For A City Manager To Lead Cheyenne
Former Cheyenne City Councilman Richard Johnson says it's time to change Cheyenne's city government from one led by a strong mayor to one headed by a city manager.
Johnson, in an interview on the ''Weekend in Wyoming" program on KGAB on Oct. 12, said there are several reasons why the city council should vote from the current "strong mayor-city council" form of government.
He says under Mayor Marian Orr, there has been a long line of scandals and bad decisions, but since there is no provision for impeaching a mayor in the city, nothing can be done. A city manager, on the other hand, could be removed at any time by a vote of the city council. Johnson served on the city council during the first two years of Orr's term in 2017-2018 and has been a critic of many of her decisions, both in-office and as a private citizen since leaving the council.
Johnson says another argument in favor of the city manager is that the person could be someone with extensive training and education rather than a politician.
The office of Cheyenne mayor will be on the ballot in 2020 and Orr is widely expected to run for a second term.
Voters in Cheyenne strongly rejected a ballot proposal in 2015 to implement a City Administrator form of government. Under that proposal, a mayor would remain in office but would fill a largely ceremonial role. Under the City Manager form of government, the office of mayor would be done away with entirely.
Johnson says he personally favors the city council enacting a new form of government on its own, without holding an election on the issue.
He says that would be accomplished simply by 6 members of the council voting for the proposal, rather than by a public vote. He favors the council taking that action as opposed to a public vote.