ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A pair of Albuquerque city councilors are trying to restructure the way the government runs. The amendment would shift the mayor’s power and create a council-manager hired by the city council.
Albuquerque city councilors Renée Grout and Louie Sanchez are proposing the amendment. “Under the council-manager system, the mayor is included on the council and part of all policy decisions with citizens and other councilors. The mayor is still the head of the city government and he represents the city at public junctions, and I should say he or she,” explained Councilor Grout.
The new proposal would have the mayor acting as the council president, setting the agenda, presiding over meetings, and making committee appointments. According to Councilor Sanchez, the current mayor-council government is failing Albuquerque taxpayers and they are not receiving critical city services that are needed like police response, solutions for the homeless and those needing mental health and addiction services.
Many of the mayor’s current executive duties will move to a council-chosen city manager. Grout continued, “City managers are selected based on their experience and qualification for this job. They have no guaranteed term of office, they are accountable to the entire council for the quality of their performance on the job.”
A statement from Mayor Tim Keller’s office stated, “This proposal would turn back the clock 50 years to the dark ages of city government, and is the opposite direction of where major American cities are heading.”
But Councilor Grout said she’s seen this work in cities like Dallas and Phoenix. She said, “Both of those cities have this form of government and they are thriving and they are excelling. You see they’re vibrant and I think we’re getting left behind. When a new mayor comes in and that mayor doesn’t like what the previous administration was doing they change everything up.”
If approved by six of the nine city councilors, the proposal will go on the fall ballot for voters to decide. “I think we need to be listening to our constituents, we need to listen to the people that have elected us and this is an opportunity for them to voice their opinions.”
Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis said he hasn’t made up his mind on restructuring the current form of government but he’s open to the conversation. According to Councilor Grout, the proposed amendment is on the agenda for the May 15th city council meeting.