The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

Is it deja vu all over again? Linn County Board of Supervisors seems an awful lot like the commission government that Cedar Rapids dumped

In City Hall, Linn County government on November 11, 2008 at 12:07 am

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.

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  1. Hooray for more blog stories!

    I made this same assesment about adding two more supervisors without any change to the county goverment structure and compared it to the commission form of government on day one. The response from the Chamber and others was the equivelant of crickets chirping. Now we have a rubber stamp for Langston and Houser in Rogers who carpet bagged into his district (less than a year). And don’t get me started on the shortcomings of the District 4 guy. We truly deserve the government we elect.

  2. The CRG endorsed the proposal to expand the Board, and didn’t seem too worried about this result then.

  3. And now the only “republican” on the new 5 member board is clinging to his $70,000 taxpayer funded paycheck and claiming any discussion to reduce it is just a sideshow. No wonder Mary Lundby gave $21,500 to his campaign. He’s as big a liberal as she is.

  4. I stand corrected. They all want their paychecks increased by $20,000 to a total of $89,000. The fact that this is the first issue they are going to tackle when then the residents of this county are still hurting from the floods is shocking. Shame.

  5. we the people elected these city and county folks. Most of them talk a good talk, but they really don’t understand us “common folks”. I was hoping the 2 new board members were down to earth people and understood how bad the economy really is, until money came into play.

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