girardforcharter

Subtitle

Rich's Platform

Given my decade of direct work within city government, under two different charters, and another decade covering city government and issues from a variety of media outlets, I have learned what works, what doesn't and what can be done to improve things.


The city and the schools:

Because I believe that good structure includes direct lines of authority and clear accountability I will work to eliminate the structure that causes turf battles between the aldermen and the school board.  The current arrangement has to change.


Elections:

I believe that winning elected office in Manchester should be something citizens at least believe they can do.  We, the people, should be able to exercise our First Amendment Right to freely associate with those who believe as we do.  The system must not favor any party or strengthen incumbents, for if it does, fewer people will run and fewer people will vote.  We've seen this in Manchester.  It must change.  Therefore, I support returning to partisan elections.  No other elections are "non-partisan" and Manchester residents deserve more choices and greater ballot access, which will lead to improved participation.

I also support eliminating the at-Large positions, even though I was the first elected Alderman at Large.  (Note:  It has been possible to elect 24 individuals to the at-large positions of each board.  BUT, only 4 people have been elected alderman at-Large and only 6 have been elected school board at-Large.)  These seats have almost exclusively been held by politicians that have big backing from special interest groups.  The average citizen can't fight that on a city wide level.


Caps on spending and taxes:

Politics and government are little more than the allocation of scarce resources to satisfy the demands of competing interests.  Therefore, the city's charter, its constitution, must design a government that inherently respects the rights and sensibilities of those who pony up the cash the politicians allocate to those  interests.  He who pays the piper should be able to choose the tune.  Therefore, I believe caps on taxes and spending must remain.  There will always be reasons to spend more money.  What's the incentive for government to become more efficient, effective and responsive without caps?  I would also consider restricting the ability to use “one time funds” for recurring expenses by requiring a super majority to approve such activity.


Paying elected officials:

I believe that only the voters should determine the pay and benefits of elected officials.  Therefore, I believe that the base level salary and benefits of all elected officials should be established in the charter AND that any changes should be approved by the voters at each municipal election.


Are they the Pope?

One more thing.  The city's department heads should not have terms for life.  It makes them unaccountable to the elected officials who represent us.  They either need terms of office requiring reappointment or they need to serve at the will of the city's chief executive officer and/or a simple majority of the governing body.  Nobody in city government should be "untouchable."  Nobody.

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