To the editor:
When I first moved from Southern California to Lawrence in 1992, I thought it rather strange for a growing city such as Lawrence to have part-time commissioners. And, low and behold, a part-time mayor selected by the part-time commissioners. After just a short time, I realized that the city was run by a full-time city manager!
I do appreciate the dedication of our city commissioners and city staff, but I believe Lawrence would best be served by a full-time mayor. Our present system of part-time commissioners and a strong city manager is undemocratic in that it relies heavily on an unelected, powerful bureaucrat guided by commissioners with little or no incentive to be responsive to the citizens.
Adding a full-time mayor to our system would be a dramatic shift to democracy. A full-time mayor would be significantly more responsive to the citizens and at the same time weaken the influence of the city staff to an appropriate level. The city commissioners would serve as advisers to the mayor and as a check on unreasonable exercises of authority.
Let's do away with part-time mayors and then Lawrence will be in step with the world's march to democracy.