The first Republican mayor since 1997, Mike Pantelides, was just elected in Annapolis, Md. A move by the city’s Democratic City Council could now reduce his role to the bare minimum.
CBS Baltimore reported that city council member Ross Arnett of Ward 8 said he was introducing a charter amendment to switch to a council-manager style of government, in which the city manager would report directly to the city council, and not the mayor. This would make the mayoral office largely ceremonial, with the mayor being able to cast only one vote on the council.
The fact that the move coincides with Pantelides’ defeat of Democrat incumbent Josh Cohen is, he says, coincidental.
"I proposed this when Josh Cohen was mayor," Arnett said. "This is something that is not new."
Arnett said that this would be “the right system,” as the city has needed a new style of management for a long time. He said that Annapolis is one of the only small municipalities in Maryland with a strong-mayor style of government.
According to the Capital Gazette, Arnett did propose similar legislation in 2010.
One of the big problems in this administration is we had a two-headed monster,” Arnett said. “We had a certified city manager and had a mayor as chief executive, and when the final decision is made, it’s made by the political person.”
If passed, the change could be implemented any time in the next four years.
Still, some Republicans are crying foul.
Conservative blogger Bryan Preston wrote on the PJ Tatler, “If this succeeds, the mayor’s power won’t be the only thing in Annapolis that’s largely ceremonial. The people’s vote will have been made ceremonial too.”