RICHARDSON (CBSDFW.COM) – Since the city of Richardson’s inception in the 1950’s, the seven city council members have selected one of their own to become mayor.
Now that the city has grown to 100,000 people, resident Jim Mallett thinks that should change — and the mayor should be elected.
Mallett says, “this is a democracy. We need to have elected officials that are responsible to the citizenry, not to six other council people.”
But resident Will Dalton is among those who ask why change something that is not broken.
“My wife and I have lived in Richardson for nearly 30 years. We find it to be a very progressive place to live, a very comfortable place to live, with a city government that functions very well.”
Alan North formed the group Richardson Citizens For A More Democratic Government, and is leading the effort to have the mayor elected.
He says he recently submitted about five thousand signatures to city hall — twice the amount needed — to get the issue on the November ballot.
North told CBS 11’s Jack Fink over the phone, “I wasn’t expecting the kind of outpouring that we’ve received. I’m excited about it. People are excited about it.”
This past January, the city council voted six to one against placing the issue before voters and instead, leaving the city charter as is, and continue having the council select one of their own as mayor.
Councilman Amir Omar was the lone dissent.
He said at the meeting, “I’d much rather see our residents be able to speak directly to who they’d like to see as mayor.”
Some city council members said more time should be taken to consider other changes to city charter as well.
Others like councilman Mark Solomon said he favors the current system.
“The ability to work together as a board which elects its chairman speaks volumes for us.”
But some residents CBS 11 spoke with randomly say the current system is flawed.
Octavio Rojas says, “I look at it more as a good ole boy system. It’s like I help you, you help me.”
Pam Kearl says, “I think the mayor should be elected by the people of the city.”
The city secretary is now verifying all of the signatures on the petition to determine whether it will appear on the November ballot.
Alan North, who’s behind the effort, ran unsuccessfully for city council last year.
But he says people brought up this issue to him during the election.