too much like the imperial executive

Breena Holland is an Associate Professor at Lehigh University in the Department of Political Science and the Environmental Initiative. She is a past and current director of Lehigh University’s South Side Initiative.

Gadfly, thanks for this information. It’s fascinating!! Do you have any information about what the “weak Mayor” form of local government would be? That is the form I would be interested in understanding better, especially if it gives more power to the City Council. I think one problem we have is that we need more ideas than just one person — the Mayor — can provide. What would happen if councilmembers were paid a more reasonable wage to help with some of the tasks involved in city governance? Right now the mayor gets all the money and has all the power and all the responsibility. I fear it is too much like the imperial executive. I think the city would benefit from a broader distribution of responsibility, in particular.


Yes, Gadfly can return to this with, especially, some opinion from that time period about how the Commission form was perceived. His sense at this point is that the Commission form was not well liked, was seen as inefficient. But this deserves a closer look at the specific reasons. And Gadfly, ever-the-utopian, wonders whether there is a 4th and even better choice, wonders with Thoreau whether “there is a still more perfect and glorious [form of city government] imagined, but not yet anywhere seen.”


One thought on “too much like the imperial executive

  1. The mayor-council structure is sort of vaguely modeled on a ‘checks and balances’ approach, I suppose — a nice idea, but look how it plays out in real life (think DC or Harrisburg, not just Bethlehem)…

    I’m still surprised that Bethlehem never went for a Home Rule charter. It would be a lot of work, but would open some doors that are barred in the state code. (Easton’s, for example, includes the ethics provisions discussed last year.)

    BTW — in Easton, the Mayor also presides over the council.

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