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Voters to decide about strong mayor model for Borough

by Diana Haecker ~ June 3rd, 2010

Come October, Mat-Su voters will be in charge of deciding whether the borough is going to get rid of the current manager form of government or if they prefer a strong mayor model.The Mat-Su Borough Assembly passed a resolution to put the question on the ballot for the October 5 borough elections.

Assemblyman Mark Ewing had introduced the idea. In an interview with KTNA he said that constituents requested the change. He reasoned that a borough manager currently has to make four assemblymen happy to keep his job whereas a strong mayor would be held accountable for his or her performance by all the voters of the Mat-Su borough.

If voters adopt the change in the form of government, Mayor Talis Colberg would take on the duties of the manager. If Colberg declines, there would be a special election.

Currently, the manager runs the borough’s day-to-day business and executes the assembly’s policy decisions. The mayor’s role is to preside over assembly meetings, vote to break a tie and he has veto power.

The topic came about when long time borough manager John Duffy resigned and will be leaving the job after 10 years by the end of June. The borough has launched a nationwide search to hire a new manager. Assemblyman Ewing said now would be a good time to change the system.

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