Would Professional City Managers Help Clean Up Rust Belt City Halls?

Recently, the City of Youngstown invested calan online in a $250,000, 251-page study to review how it currently operates and how it might improve its overall efficiency (or lack thereof) in a number of areas.

Yo city hall

In addition to a review of its current operations, the study’s additional deliverable was to provide recommendations for improvement in nearly every corner of government (while also providing new ideas for revenue attraction). Which it did.

And those recommendations are important because not only

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did the study’s findings paint an unflattering picture of Youngstown’s current method of operations, but they also fire a serious warning blow across its deck: make fundamental changes or you’ll be looking at a recurring annual deficit that would lead to a combined negative balance of $44.5 million in 5 years if no changes are made.

To put that in perspective, Youngstown’s average annual income over the past 5 years has been approximately $75 million. The projected average income for the next 5 years is $68 million annually with the average expenditure total to rise to $76 million annually, due primarily to inflation and workforce costs. To that end, and according to the study, Youngstown has the highest workforce total in Ohio lioresal among cities of comparable size. It also has the second highest amount of employees per 1,000 residents. And workforce accounts for 64% of the city’s total budget.

While the report should be taken with a grain of salt because adjustments are always made annually to account for projected deficits, it does give some insight into the increasingly trending fiscal challenge Youngstown will continue to face. And, of course, it isn’t healthcare alliance pharmacy discount card alone.

This pharmacy-7days-canadian.com month, news out of cash-strapped Detroit rippled through the Rust Belt when Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder ordered a state-appointed emergency manager http://cialis7days-pharmacy.com/aggrenox-price.php to overtake city operations… a city which is looking at $14 billion in long-term debt and a current fiscal year deficit of $100 million.

And that news came on the heels of the sentencing of disgraced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick who was found http://cialis7days-pharmacy.com/viagra-super-active-price.php guilty of racketeering, extortion, bribery, and fraud for steering more than http://pharmacy-online-24hour.com/periactin-online.html $83 million worth of municipal contracts to a personal acquaintance in return for kickbacks.

While Detroit’s situation is an extreme one and Youngstown’s is slightly more palatable, the overarching point is that population and tax base continue to decrease and workforce costs, services needs, and deficits continue to mount in a number of older industrial communities–at least for the foreseeable future.

That being the case and given the understanding that there certainly are no silver bullets in the Rust Belt on any front, is it time for some communities to consider proactively and preemptively moving towards City Manager forms of government?

Perhaps erring on the side of (presumably) objective and experienced management is a better long-term leadership alternative than continuing to leave increasingly difficult decision making to singular elected individuals who–given the very nature and reality of politics in community–are subjected to myriad external forces and special interests regardless of the sincerity of their intentions.

The reality of this option may be flomax laughable in some cities–though for many, maybe it shouldn’t be. Regardless, it should at least be an option worth consideration by those who understand the bigger picture moving forward and are not burdened with conflict of self-interest.

Because in places like Detroit and Youngstown, the status quo approach to managing decline has been self-evident.

And like so many other aspects of urban revitalization that force us to radically rethink our approaches, perhaps the way we govern ourselves is something that should be included.


–Phil Kidd is the founder of Defend Youngstown as well as the Youngstown Nation Gift Shop & Information Center in downtown Youngstown. He also keeps a personal blog (In Defense) which buy nexium discusses local issues in the Youngstown area.

1 Comment

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One response to “Would Professional City Managers Help Clean Up Rust Belt City Halls?

  1. Pingback: 03.27.13: Your Morning Buzz | Oregon Emerging Local Government Leaders Network

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