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The Eudora City Council is looking at changing how the city of Eudora is governed.
At the City Council meeting on Monday night, The Council heard a presentation from Dr. John Nalbandian, a faculty member in the Department of Public Administration at the University of Kansas. Nalbandian also served on the Lawrence City Commission during the 1990’s and served two years as Mayor of Lawrence during his time on the commission. Nalbandian outlined how the city government of Eudora is currently setup and showed alternatives from nearby cities including Lawrence and Ottawa and some cities with larger population bases.
The form of government question came about when the City of Eudora became a City of the Second class in December, 2010. The state has regulations on how cities of the Second Class govern themselves that are different from Third Class cities. Cities have the option of chartering out of the regulations and can continue governing as they had in the past. Eudora chartered out of those regulations earlier this year.
Currently, the City of Eudora is governed by the City Council who votes on all issues presented to the Council and the Mayor does not vote unless it’s to break a tie. As the Mayor learned during the presentation on Monday night, he also has veto power in Eudora, which can be overridden by the City Council with a supermajority.
Many on both the past and present City Council feel the Mayor should have more power than tie-breaking and purely ceremonial duties. Newly elected Council member John Fiore stated “I feel the Mayor should be on more of an equal footing with the Council.”
Current Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson feels the city should move to a model similar to Lawrence and do away with a person elected solely as “Mayor”. In Lawrence, three out of the five city commissioners are voted on every two years and they highest two vote getters in that election are then named mayor for a one year term during the next two years.
“I think a system like that (referring to Lawrence) would keep everything more honest” Hopson said. “With a powerful mayor, there is the possibility to manipulate the system.”
There are two ways the City Council can change the form of government. They have the option of simply passing an ordinance that allows more power to the Mayor’s position. The down side to this is that it can be easily changed or reversed by future Councils.
The other, more complicated way, is by offering a resolution to change the Eudora’s constitution. By offering a possible change to the City Constitution, it requires a vote by the citizens of Eudora in an election and it means that all City Council members would then have to run for election again. The number of City Council members could also be enlarged or reduced, depending on what the current City Council would propose.
We want to find out what you think. Do you feel that the Mayor should be given more power in governing the City? Do you think that the city should move to a Commissioner based system in Lawrence? We have set up a poll question on the right hand side of our site to give you the chance to weigh in on your thoughts. You also, as with any story on eudorareporter.com, leave your comments below.