UDSSC Press Release
“Strong Mayor” Idea Was Reviewed and Rejected by Citizen’s City Charter Committee
Vallejo, CA (July 21, 2014) – The United Democrats of Southern Solano County (UDSSC) strongly opposes the efforts by Vallejo Mayor Osby Davis to change the Vallejo City Charter to specify a “Strong Mayor” form of government instead of the current “Council-Manager” form specified by the current City Charter. The proposal is to be voted on at the next Vallejo City Council meeting on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 7 p.m. in Vallejo City Council Chambers, 555 Santa Clara Street, Vallejo CA.
“The proposed charter changes are a distraction from what should be the City’s number one priority, namely economic development and fiscal sustainability,” said USDCC President, Rick Grant. “This proposal is not well-thought-out and has no time for proper review. A change of this magnitude should not be undertaken without adequate public discussion, analysis, and time to properly implement,” he added.
The citizen’s Vallejo City Charter Review Committee spent much time and effort reviewing any and all changes needed to the city charter. The committee rejected the idea a change to a “Strong Mayor” form of governance for the City of Vallejo
The City of Vallejo recently passed a balanced budget which required making pay and retirement benefits reductions for police officers and retirees. Even with these cuts, the City of Vallejo is still projected to face budget deficits for the foreseeable future. Mayor Davis recently stated at a City Council meeting that employee pay cuts and cuts to City services are a given in light of the City’s precarious financial situation. In light of this, the City Council and Mayor should remain focused on fiscal responsibility rather than making spur-of-the-moment proposals to spend funds on ballot measures which would give increased pay and benefits to the Mayor. The proposed charter change would also give the Mayor broad powers to direct city staff and the way finances are budgeted, and what financial issues are allowed to come before the City Council.
President Rick Grant said, “This feels like a sneak attack – the Mayor put this on the City’s agenda at the last moment, he did not include this issue as part of the City Council’s goal setting session last spring, nor was it included in the 2014 budget they just passed. Waiting until just before the election deadline to bring this proposal before Vallejo’s residents and the City Council is reckless and disingenuous. The lack of transparency and disrespect for the people of Vallejo is shocking.”
The deadline to submit the final verbiage for the ballot measure to Solano County would be August 8. The Mayor’s July 22 City Council agenda item is the first time a proposal to overhaul the city government has been communicated to the public. If the Council were to approve this on Tuesday, a special session would take place on July 29, the next week – giving residents merely seven days for public review the measure.
As this proposal flies in the face of democratic principles, the United Democrats of Southern Solano County opposes the City Charter change.