John "Mike" Henry, Mayor
State of the City Address - December 16, 2014 (Former Mayor Donald Monty)
Audio Recordings of Council Meetings and State of the City Address
From the Mayor
City Officials and Staff Extend a Warm Welcome to New Students and Residents
Welcome all new residents and students to Carbondale. Carbondale offers the luxuries people expect in a large city while maintaining the comforts and charm of a small town.
In Carbondale you will find abundant housing options for students through retirement living, state of the art medical, technical and professional services and facilities, excellent schools and churches, and outstanding social and cultural activities sponsored by the community and University. The City has an expansive retail district, more than 100 restaurant options, unique specialty shops in a historic Downtown District, as well as attractive parks and recreational facilities, all nestled amid the natural beauty of Southern Illinois.
We invite you to get acquainted with your City and all of the services available to you as residents of Carbondale. Through this newsletter, City staff are dedicated to providing municipal news to residents of the community. In every issue you will find information on services available, as well as announcements and upcoming events. We also encourage you to visit the Carbondale Web site explorecarbondale.com for news and information pertaining to all areas of City government, as well as links to area organizations and the abundant resources available in Southern Illinois.
From the governmental perspective, Carbondale strives to have an open platform for its citizenry, where the voices of all residents are heard and respected. Regular City Council meetings are held on the lst and 3rd Tuesdays of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center at 200 South Illinois Avenue. The meetings are also televised live on the City’s governmental cable channel CityVision 16, which may be found on Mediacom Channel 16 and streamed live on the Web site. City Council recordings are also available on the City’s Web site.
In this issue I address information about the City Manager form of government in Carbondale. The Council-Manager form of government has been adopted in thousands of cities across the United States since the 1920’s. It is most popular in cities with populations of 20,000 or more.
This form of government is generally implemented as a way to remove politics from city government. The Manager refrains from any political activities related to the municipality. The Mayor and Council members respect the City Manager as being solely responsible for the administration of the day-to-day operations of the city without interference from the Council Members, bringing professionalism and efficiency to those operations. The City of Carbondale adopted the Council-Manager form in 1966.
How does council-manager government work?
The City Council members represent their community and develop a long-range vision for its future. They establish policies that affect the overall operation of the community and are responsive to residents’ needs and wishes. To ensure that these policies are carried out and that the entire community is equitably served, the governing body appoints a highly trained professional manager on the basis of his/her education, experience, skills, and abilities (and not their political allegiances). If the manager is not responsive to the governing body, it has the authority to terminate the manager at any time.
How can council-manager government benefit my community?
A community benefits from the council-manager form in a number of important ways:
What is the role of the manager under council-manager government?
The manager is hired to serve the council and the community and brings to the local government the benefits of his/her training and experience in administering municipal projects and programs.
The manager supervises and coordinates the departments, appoints and removes their directors, recruits, hires, terminates, and supervises city staff; prepares a budget for the council’s consideration; serves as the council’s chief advisor; and carries out the council’s policies. Council members and residents count on the manager to provide complete and objective information about local operations, discuss the pros and cons of alternatives, and offer an assessment of the long-term consequences of their decisions. Appointed managers serve at the pleasure of the governing body. They can be terminated by a majority of the council, consistent with local laws, or any employment agreements they may enter into with the council. The manager makes policy recommendations to the council for consideration and final decision. The manager is bound by whatever action the council takes, and control is always in the hands of the elected representatives of the people.
What is the role of the council?
The council is the community’s legislative and policymaking body. Power is centralized in the elected council, which, for example, approves the budget and determines the tax rate. The council also focuses on the community’s goals, major projects, and such long-term considerations as community growth, land use development, capital improvement and financing, and strategic planning.
What is the role of the mayor?
The mayor is the ceremonial head of the municipality, presides over council meetings, and appoints members of citizen advisory boards and commissions (with the advice and consent of council). A mayor is a key political and policy leader, represents the city in intergovernmental relationships, facilitates communication and understanding between elected and appointed officials, and assists the council in setting goals and advocating policy decisions. In Carbondale, the mayor is also voting member of the city council.
What value does a professional manager contribute to a community?
Professional managers contribute value to a community because they:
The Council-Manager form of government relies on each party understanding their roles and respecting the authority of the other. There is an implied level of trust between the parties and in the information presented to the Council by the manager and staff. The day-to-day operations are the responsibility of the City Manager and their staff. Department heads are highly trained professionals with years of expertise. They are obligated to adhere to professional standards, ethical and legal judgments and to explore all options in any given situation. They are bound to provide the Council with options and alternatives and to offer a recommended course of action when matters of policy are being discussed and changed.
The Mayor, City Council and City staff are here to serve you and look forward to making your acquaintance. For information about all of the services available to you through the City of Carbondale, contact the Carbondale City Hall at 549-5302 or stop by and visit us at 200 South Illinois Avenue.
John “Mike” Henry
City of Carbondale