Virtual Kollage: The disadvantages of the City Manager type of Local Government

Posted by / Wednesday, 19 October 2016 / No comments

The disadvantages of the City Manager type of Local Government



DISADVANTAGES OF THE CITY MANAGER TYPE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Definition
The City Manager type of local government is that type of Local Government system where elections to office are not based on the political leaning of the contestants. In other words, it is a system where party politicking is avoided at the local level. The system originates from the United States of America.

Composition
The City Council of the City Manager type of local government consists of between four to nine members who are elected by the people. Of this number, one is appointed out of the lot as the City Manager. The City Manager then appoints the heads of all the departments in the City Council. Some of the departments included the Departments of Public Relations, Fire, Waste Management, and Engineering.

City Manager could become dictatorial
Under the City Manager type of local government, too much power is concentrated in the hands of the City Manager. As the saying goes that “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”, there is the danger that the City Manager could become despotic.

Operates in a hostile environment
The City Manager type of local government does not allow for the City Manager to be elected by the people, he/she is appointed by the City Council. He therefore does not enjoy the direct support of the city dwellers. He therefore operates in a hostile environment.

Unnecessary conflicts
It has been argued that the City Manager type of local government generates too much tension between the people of the city and the City council as an entity. It not an uncommon sight to see citizens of a city going on demonstrations against a policy or programme of their City Council. The resultant confrontation between the city voters and the City Council does not arguer well for the image of the city.

City Manager unfamiliar with terrain
The City Manager is mostly not familiar with the problems of the city to which he has been recruited. He may think he knows the needs of the people while in actual fact, the needs of the people may be different. This may be due to the fact that he is most of the time recruited from outside the city.

Undemocratic
Another disadvantage of the City Manager type of local government is that it is undemocratic. Indeed, the City Manager, who is given so much power to administer the city, is not directly elected by the people. In other words, the City Manager does not have the direct mandate of the people. This is unacceptable in a country that prides itself on democratic principles.

Undue criticism of City Manager
The City Manager is ultimately responsible for the failure and success of the city. This makes him the target criticism from the city dwellers. He is blamed for everything and anything. Undue criticism may drive him off focus so that instead of concentrating on his core functions, he now has to assuage the fears of the people.

SAMPLE QUESTIONS
1. Highlight six disadvantages of the City Manager type of local government.

2. a. How is the City Council of the City Manager type of local government composed?
    b. High five disadvantages of the City manager type of local government.

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