It’s on odd view from City Hall, looking on at the coming of a new Linn County government.
What Linn County has embraced — and Cedar Rapids is part of Linn County — looks frighteningly like the government that residents and community leaders in Cedar Rapids spent no little time and effort getting rid of at City Hall in 2005.
Now in place in Linn County are nicely-paid elected officials. They are without any academic credentials in public administration. And there is no professional county manager to run the operation.
Only the new county government has gone one step more: It has added ward politics to the mix.
It is intriguing to reflect on all the time, energy and media coverage that was expended back in 2004 and 2005 before Cedar Rapids residents went to the polls in June 2005 and overwhelmingly discarded the city’s commission form of government in favor of council/manager government.
The commission government featured five, nicely-paid, full-time commissioners –- no public administration credentials needed — who administered departments and sat as a City Council.
In its place now are a part-time mayor and part-time council, paid a modest amount, with a professional city manager. Five of the nine council members are elected by district.
Meanwhile, over at Linn County, all five supervisors are elected by district; they will be paid about $70,000 a year starting in January; and there is no professional county manager helping run the show.
In addition, the supervisors have little to say about much of county government because the auditor, treasurer, recorder, sheriff and county attorney are elected directly by voters and run their own shows.