Fountain Inn voters will determine their form of government at the polls Tuesday after Fountain Inn City Council voted 3-2 to place the issue in the hands of the public.
The majority of City Council has been at odds with Mayor Sam Lee since his election. Lee fired then City Administrator Eddie Case only to have his decision reversed by council. Additionally, the Mayor cancelled upcoming performances at the Younts Center which angered other council members, The Cultural Arts Foundation, and many within the community.
The current form of government is a strong Mayor and City Council form of government. The referendum will allow a change to a council form of government giving the new City Administrator more power. The Mayor would still preside over council meetings.
I believe moving away from a “strong mayor” form of government is a healthy step in the growth of Fountain Inn. This change would allow for more dialogue between citizens, city staff, and council members, which in turn means greater transparency for our community. In years past, a strong mayor may have made sense for our community, but growth and change dictate that we examine our local government and advocate for change if we see that it is needed.The question before us isn’t one about past, current, or future leaders in our community, but rather an important dialogue – what role do we want our government officials having in our daily lives? Do we want a city led in many ways by one individual with broad powers and a group of other leaders who only provide consent, or have our community led by a team of community leaders who work together through consensus, deliberation, and community input to lead the way as one whole body? That’s the question for Fountain Inn.