Republic Question, Week 1

by John Washington on July 13, 2012

Arizona Republic opinion page editor Robert Leger posed four questions to the mayoral candidates. For ease of future reference, I’ll post the questions and the answers here.

Here’s my segment of this the series from 5 July:

Q: What is the most important function of the mayor?

A: The mayor is primarily the chief representative of and advocate for the citizens.

In that role, the mayor is also the public face of city government and the leader of the City Council in setting the agenda, tone and efficient conduct of deliberations.

The mayor must hold city government (via the city manager) accountable to the citizens, the city charter, the General Plan, city ordinances and city policies.

Top priorities of that accountability are public safety, good city planning, long-term financial stability, crisis management and citizen quality of life.

The mayor must lead the council in policy review, policy refinement and oversight of policy implementation. The mayor must ensure compliance with county, state and federal laws, but must also defend against overreach.

However, the mayor must also remain engaged with the citizens. One of the biggest obstacles is that people move here because of the results of past good governance, and take for granted its continuance.

The mayor must keep the citizens engaged by means other than bad governance.

The mayor must articulate issues early, intelligently, honestly and broadly.

Citizen participation is vital to maintaining the self-reinforcing “virtuous circle” of quality of life and a robust economy.

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