To the editor:
Last year, the mayor proposed a substantial increase in salaries paid to city commissioners - the workload is burdensome - given the important and complex issues that face our city in 2006. Our citizens take an active part in expressing their opinions, and just reading e-mails can consume a lot of time.
Each week, someone comes forward with a proposal that requires extensive study. These proposals cannot be fully understood and correlated, due to sometimes confusing policies, by a cursory reading or brief overview. They require time, careful examination and thoughtful discussion.
Currently, decision making for Lawrence is in the hands of part-time leadership. Most city commissioners work full-time jobs and are expected to give full attention to their employers, which leaves city affairs until after work or what's left of each day.
The city's needs are not getting commissioners' full attention, yet they are expected to make fundamental strategy, planning and policy decisions that will affect Lawrence for years to come. Some city services require substantial increases in funding and manpower to reach adequate levels for a community the size of Lawrence. When and how to improve these services will require more than a part-time effort.
Lawrence should consider another form of city government, perhaps a full-time mayor/city council to plan and guide its future. Challenges in the next 20 years will demand more than part-time attention.
Lawrence has been playing catch-up and improvement of leadership with a cohesive vision will meet its projected growth.