What's Right For Rockford?
Should Rockfordians swap their mayoral form of government for the city manager form?
It depends … It depends on who we are.
If Rockford has a relatively homogeneous population, then perhaps it fits the city manager model. City managers are trained technical and managerial experts. They fit well a city with no major ethnic or socioeconomic divisions.
Government there equates to business management. Professional and managerial classes tend to predominate in the city. What is needed is not political leadership with its subtle skills of compromise, mediation, and healing. What is needed is technical or managerial skill. Such cities are suited for a city manager, who is professionally trained in budgeting, management, and technical matters.
But in a city with significant socioeconomic and ethnic cleavages, technical expertise is not what is needed. No, what ?is needed are political skills of the highest order. Leadership is needed. Healing is needed. Bringing people together is needed.
A mayor must unite citizens so that they can address the political question. The political question is: "How should we live?" That question cannot be answered by algorithms.
A city manager for Rockford would be the wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I'm Bob Evans, and that is my perspective.