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Have you been duped into believing the Mayor is "just" a figure head?

According to the City Charter the Huber Heights Mayor is the most influential member of council with the most duties and responsibilities.  Even though the rest of council inappropriately stated the Mayor doesn't get a committee vote, this doesn't change the fact that the Mayor gets to vote on Legislation and that the Mayor's legislative voting privileges are always more powerful than any other council member's voting privileges.  Don't be deceived into thinking anything other than the Mayor has the most powerful vote just because the Charter doesn't waste our time making the Mayor vote unnecessarily.    Make sure you look at the tables at the end of the article to see what I mean.  And of course you will have to read the entire article to see that even the Mayor's "most powerful" vote isn't powerful at all as a single vote. 
 
In this article I will address City Charter Section 4.02 which states " the Council shall consist of nine (9) members elected by the qualified voters of the City by nonpartisan ballot:  one of whom shall be separately elected as the Mayor" and discuss the Mayor's voting privileges as a member of council.  I will also show that council was wrong when they changed the rules on how committees work.  Before I get to those issue though I think it is important to address those duties where the Mayor is a "figure head".
 
There is no doubt that if you look at Section 4.04 of the City Charter it recognizes that the Mayor has some ceremonial duties, just like other members of council, and that when council gets together to do those ceremonial duties, the Mayor is considered the head of City Government.  For instance when council decides to participate in the 4th of July Parade the Charter expects the Mayor to be in front of the rest of the council members.   So when you read "shall be recognized as head of the City Government for all ceremonial and nonadministrative purposes" in Section 4.04, you're right to conclude that the Mayor has some "figure head" like duties.  However, you have to ignore the rest of Section 4.04 to conclude that the Mayor is "just" a figure head. For instance that section tells us:
 
1. The Mayor has all  "the powers, rights and duties as a member of Council as provided under this Charter"
 
2.  "the Mayor shall preside at meetings of Council"
 
3.  the Mayor " shall serve as an ex-officio member of all Council appointed committees"
 
4.   the Mayor shall be recognized as head of the City Government "by the Governor for military purpose"
 
5.  "The Mayor shall have judicial powers and the other powers and privileges to which Mayors are entitled under general law and the Constitution of the State of Ohio, provided such other powers and privileges are consistent with the provisions of this Charter"
 
Hopefully, we never have an occasion where Marshal Law is declared by the Governor and duty 4. above is necessary.  Duty 5. has been a pleasure so far because I've had the privilege of marrying a dozen couples.
 
Looking at  duty 1. we do see that there is a caveat.  The Mayor's responsibilities as a council members are "as provided under this Charter".   Some people look at that caveat and then look at the sentence in Section 4.04 that states the Mayor, "shall not have the right to vote" and get hung up on these first seven words without considering the rest of the sentence.  The rest of the sentence reads,  "except in the cases where the vote for the remaining members of Council results in a tie vote, in which cases the Mayor must cast the deciding vote.  The Mayor shall have the power to veto any ordinance or resolution enacted by Council except  (i) those enacted as a result of the Mayor's casting the deciding vote, and (ii) those enacted by a vote of at least two-thirds (2/3) majority of Council."  Examining the entire sentence you will see that for every vote before council the Mayor's power is superior than every other single council member.  Don't get confused, I said, the Mayor's power is greater than one council member.  I do know it is not greater than two council members.  And this is proper in the Council - City Manager form of government where the Mayor is a member of council and not the day to day administrator of the city.  It is good to have one member be a little more powerful than the rest, but it wouldn't be good to have a single person with too much influence.   Otherwise someone might confuse us with the Ukraine. 
 
Also, don't get confused into thinking that the Mayor's vote is less powerful than it really is just because there are a couple issues where I believe council choose the wrong course of action and I wasn't able to convince enough council members to choose a different path.  As long as six council members choose to vote together the power shown by that coalition over powers the extra authority given to the Mayor in the City Charter.  And that is the way the council should be set up.  I say this even though I still believe if council had adopted my positions on the specific issues it would have produced better results for the city.  But fundamentally I believe in the Council - City Manager form of government no one individual should be able to overpower six other council members.  Hopefully, someday we will get to the place were residents have more influence on council members and some of the positions I champion get fair consideration.  But making friends and influencing others is a different issue than how a government should be structured.  So I can agree that our Charter is set up nicely and still wish for better execution and results.
 
I wrote the last two paragraphs so that we can compare the Mayor's voting power with any other single member of council.  I've created a couple of tables below so we can visualize the voting power of the Mayor compared to the voting power of the Ward 3 representative.  Looking at the results you can see overall the Mayor has  much more influence over legislation than any single council member. 
 
According to the City Charter council consists of nine members: The Mayor, Ward 1, Ward 2, Ward 3, Ward 4, Ward 5, Ward 6, At Large 1 and At Large 2.    
 
Suppose all council members are present
What if seven other  members vote yes While zero members vote no If  the representative from Ward 3 Votes yes then Ward 3 influence on the outcome of the vote is none And the Mayor's   influence on the outcome of the vote is none

 
So the Mayor's influence compared to  the representative from Ward 3 influence is the same
What if seven other  members vote yes While zero members vote no If  the representative from Ward 3 Votes no then Ward 3 influence on the outcome of the vote is none And the Mayor's   influence on the outcome of the vote is none

 
So the Mayor's influence compared to  the representative from Ward 3 influence is the same
What if six other  members vote yes While one member votes no If  the representative from Ward 3 Votes yes

 
then Ward 3 influence on the outcome of the vote is none And the Mayor's   influence on the outcome of the vote is none So the Mayor's influence compared to  the representative from Ward 3 influence is the same
What if six other  members vote yes While one member votes no If  the representative from Ward 3 Votes no then Ward 3 influence on the outcome of the vote is none And the Mayor's   influence on the outcome of the vote is none

 
So the Mayor's influence compared to  the representative from Ward 3 influence is the same
What if five other  members vote yes While two member votes no If  the representative from Ward 3 Votes yes then Ward 3 influence on the outcome of the vote is none

Caveat: it will prevent a Mayoral veto though so it influences the outcome of the legislation

 
And the Mayor's   influence on the outcome of the vote is none So the Mayor's influence compared to  the representative from Ward 3 influence is the less
What if five other  members vote yes While two member votes no If  the representative from Ward 3 Votes no then Ward 3 influence on the outcome of the vote is none
Caveat: it will allow a Mayoral veto though so it influences the outcome of the legislation

 
Then the Mayor may choose to veto The Mayor has more influence
What if four other  members vote yes While three member votes no If  the representative from Ward 3 Votes yes then Ward 3 influence on the outcome of the vote is none

 
Then the Mayor may choose to veto The Mayor has more influence
What if four other  members vote yes While three member votes no If  the representative from Ward 3 Votes no
 
This gives the Mayor the power to make decision Mayor's vote decides the issue The Mayor has more influence
 
Suppose one council member is absent then the table changes
What if six other  members vote yes While zero members vote no If  the representative from Ward 3 Votes yes then Ward 3 influence on the outcome of the vote is none
 
And the Mayor's   influence on the outcome of the vote is none

 
So the Mayor's influence compared to  the representative from Ward 3 influence is the same
What if six other  members vote yes While zero members vote no If  the representative from Ward 3 Votes no then Ward 3 influence on the outcome of the vote is none
 
And the Mayor's   influence on the outcome of the vote is none

 
So the Mayor's influence compared to  the representative from Ward 3 influence is the same
What if five other  members vote yes While  one member votes no If  the representative from Ward 3 Votes yes then Ward 3 influence on the outcome of the vote is none
Caveat: it will prevent a Mayoral veto though so it influences the outcome of the legislation

 
And the Mayor's   influence on the outcome of the vote is none So the Mayor's influence compared to  the representative from Ward 3 influence is the less
What if five other  members vote yes While one member votes no If  the representative from Ward 3 Votes no then Ward 3 influence on the outcome of the vote is none

 
Then the Mayor may choose to veto The Mayor has more influence
What if four other  members vote yes While two member votes no If  the representative from Ward 3 Votes yes then Ward 3 influence on the outcome of the vote is none

 
Then the Mayor may choose to veto The Mayor has more influence
What if four other  members vote yes While two member votes no If  the representative from Ward 3 Votes no then Ward 3 influence on the outcome of the vote is none

 
Then the Mayor may choose to veto The Mayor has more influence
What if three other  members vote yes While three member votes no If  the representative from Ward 3 Votes yes

 
This gives the Mayor the power to make decision Mayor's vote decides the issue The Mayor has more influence
What if three other  members vote yes While three member votes no If  the representative from Ward 3 Votes no

 
This gives the Mayor the power to make decision Mayor's vote decides the issue The Mayor has more influence
 
 
I know I promised that I would talk about the "Rules of Council" changes that told us the rest of council decided that the Mayor shouldn't vote in committee meetings.  Sorry, but I'm only taking 5 minutes to write out this section.
 
Remember one of the duties of the Mayor is  " shall serve as an ex-officio member of all Council appointed committees".  As an ex-officio member of a committee according to Roberts Rules of Order the Mayor should be given full membership rights of that committee.  This includes voting rights and the right to be chairman of the committee.  During the debate about the rules Council Member Tyler Starline also noted that the City Charter also makes the City Manager an ex-officio member of some city boards and when it does it specifically states that the City Manager is a non-voting member of these boards.  As a lawyer Mr. Starline interprets that because the authors of the Charter specifically said the City Manager was a non-voting ex-officio member but didn't also state this when declaring that the Mayor was an ex-officio member then by default the Mayor is legally entitled to vote.  This makes sense to me, even if I didn't take the time to write it clearly here.  

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