Bowling Green City Government in Question

By: Lori Mitchell
By: Lori Mitchell

After 28-years of service, Chuck Coates announced Thursday that he will be stepping down at the end of the month.

This announcement comes just two weeks after the city's Chief Financial Officer was arrested for stealing millions of dollars in taxpayer money.

City Commissioners asked Coates to resign due to what they call "management failures." This series of events is leading some commissioners to take a hard look at how the city operates.

"It makes sense to me to do the exploratory process of that now. We may find out very quickly that's not something we had to do and the city manager form of government is very successful, but we may find we need a full-time legislature too."

Commissioner Slim Nash says he isn't necessarily in support of changing Bowling Green's form of government, but believes it's an idea worth looking into.

First used in the 1900's, the city manager form of government is widely viewed as a way to take politics out of municipal administration.
Commissioners have the authority to hire and fire a city manager, who's responsible for overseeing the day to day operations of a city.

Another option for Bowling Green would be a full time mayor and city council, where the mayor has the power to hire and fire.

A third option would be a commission form, elected by voters, who then designate a chairman or mayor to preside over meetings. The commission has both a legislative and executive functions.

Finally, in a Representative Town Meeting, all citizens can attend and participate in meeting discussions. Individuals are chosen by the general electorate to represent them in voting. The selectmen are responsible for implementing policy.

But changing a city's form of government isn't an easy process, and one that voters must decide on.

While commissioners say they will continue to explore their options, their primary focus will be making the city whole again.

Coates' job will be filled temporarily, until the city finds a permanent replacement. Who the interim city manager will be is still unknown at this time. The search is expected to take three to six months.


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