Wednesday, February 01, 2006

How many County Council members? by Rick Sorrell

TO: Charter Review Commission

RE: Number of Members on County Council

There is merit to both increasing and decreasing the number of Councilmen. A better argument is to leave the number unchanged.

Reducing the number would definitely reduce the cost of the County Council. Increasing the number would definitely increase the voice and influence of particular voting blocks. But there has been NO accounting presented for any expected cost or savings for such proposals, nor any compelling evidence that the current system is inefficient or fails in some way.

A new Councilman operates inefficiently for a couple of years while he “learns the ropes” and develops a network and rapport with his constituents. Any change in number or redistricting throws a wrench of inefficiency into the system. Additionally, a percentage of office holders will always prove to be less then expected or ineffective, with other members having to pick up the slack.

A change in number will prove costly, both the cost of redistricting and the loss of efficiency. A compelling reason should exist to make a change. If compelling reason is presented, then it should be considered. The County will suffer if change is made on no more than a whim. As the saying goes, “If it isn’t broke, then don’t try to fix it”. There are more important issues.

Rick Sorrels, 884-4650


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