The November 2016 general election season was a busy one for many local governments that had various form of government questions on the ballot. Following is a summary of election results known to ICMA as of November 11:
Carver, Minnesota (pop. 4,147)
Residents voted by a margin of 64-to-36 percent to change from a Plan A mayor-council form to the Plan B council-manager form of government. ICMA used resources from the Future of Professional Management Fund to send Midwest Regional Director Dave Limardi to Carver to participate in an October 12 public forum.
East Providence, Rhode Island (pop. 47,149)
Following a string of political controversies that included the firing of the most recent manager in August, residents voted 73-to-27-percent to abandon council-manager government in favor of the mayor-council form. ICMA staff worked with several Rhode Island managers to develop a letter to the editor and underwrite development of a display advertisement in support of council-manager form retention.
Freeport, Illinois (pop. 25,035)
For the fourth time in eight years, voters went to the polls to decide whether to switch from mayor-council to council-manager government, and this time 53 percent said yes. ICMA provided financial support to the “Vote Yes for Freeport” citizens group, which used the funds to underwrite campaign educational materials.
Gladstone, Oregon (pop. 11,724)
Residents voted 55-to-45 percent (see p. 24) not to adopt a proposed new home rule charter (Measure 3-511), which, among other reforms, would have renamed the current position of city administrator as city manager and more clearly defined that position’s roles and responsibilities. ICMA provided editorial support and underwrote development of a display ad in support of the charter’s adoption.
Simsbury, Connecticut (pop. 23,511)
Simsbury voters approved a referendum to change the town's government from a first selectman-board of selectmen form to a town manager-council structure. The measure passed by 850 votes and takes effect December 2017. ICMA staff worked with several managers within the state and a member of the charter review committee to develop a letter to the editor, which appeared in the Hartford Courant.
Other Known Campaigns
Andover, Connecticut (pop. 3,303)
By nearly a 3-to-1 margin (1,291 in favor; 437 against), voters in Andover approved a charter change that will allow for the hiring of a town administrator to oversee daily municipal operations.
Champaign County, Illinois (pop. 204,897)
By a margin of less than 400 votes, Champaign County residents agreed to switch from the current county board form of government to an elected county executive. The issue had been on the ballot four times between 1986 and 1998.
Dunnellon, Florida (pop. 1,756)
Dunnellon residents voted by a margin of 58-to-42 percent (543 to 399) to abandon the council-manager form of government and replace it with the mayor-council form.
Millville, New Jersey (pop. 28,711)
By a 3,729-to-2,951 margin, voters decided against establishing a charter study commission to explore changing the city’s form of government. With the question decided, the city will continue under the Walsh Act or commission form of government.
Pike County, Kentucky (pop. 63,380)
Pike County residents voted to move from the magistrate form of government to a commission-style government in 2018, which would allow for the election of three at-large commissioners. The measure passed by a margin of nearly 3,000 votes.
Plattsburg, New York (pop. 19,898)
Plattsburg voters rejected a proposal (3,273 against; 2,303 in favor) to change the city’s form of government from the mayor-council to the council-manager form.
Providence, Utah (pop. 7,033)
By a vote of 1,160 to 708, Providence residents defeated a proposal that would have transferred the city’s administrative duties from the mayor to a city manager.
St. Mary’s County, Maryland (pop. 108,633)
A majority of the electorate (23,303 to 15,632) voted against adopting a county code home rule charter, which would have given the board of county commissioners the power to enact certain local laws without going through the Maryland General Assembly.
Summerville, South Carolina (pop. 46,074)
A measure to change the town’s form of government from strong-council to strong-mayor failed by a 8,153-to-6,084 margin.
Need form-of-government assistance?
ICMA provides data and information, collateral materials, and other resources to individuals and organizations interested in promoting professional management and the council-manager form of government. Contact Michele Frisby, director of communications & public information, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-962-3658. To learn more about donating to ICMA’s Future of Professional Management Fund, contact Erin Carr, development manager, at email@example.com or 202-962-3697.