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Mayor’s moment: Mayor’s duties aren’t always clear

by Veronica Smith-Creer | April 11, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.
Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer

In the position of Mayor, I am grateful for the opportunity to share the processes and procedures that are in place for our city to run smoothly.

It is often brought to my attention that many have not been properly informed on how things work. That gives many a skewed vision and ultimately a great deal of confusion. I am always conscious of the scripture that states “Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7. My prayer is that we gain wisdom and understanding.

Many think that the Mayor calls all the shots as far as the city is concerned. This concept is not true in most cases of city government. It is not the case in our city. We have a Mayor/Council form of city government and the council is the legislative arm of our city. They are to set the rules in the form of ordinance and resolutions, which are composed primarily by our City Attorney and sometimes by our City Clerk.

With eight members of our council, there are two representatives for each of the four wards of the city. They are tasked with putting rules in place by voting. As the Mayor, I am only able to vote in the case of a tie vote between the council members. I also can veto (funny how veto and vote are composed of the same letters), but the council members still have the power to vote on that action. The council has the power or purpose to make sure the ordinances that are in place are amended or rescinded when they are not effective, enforceable or accurate.

The council is also responsible for the financial stability of the city. Not only do they have the responsibility to approve projects for the city, they also approve the bills that are paid by the city and are responsible for passing the budget each year. That responsibility also makes the council members the key decision makers when it comes to each department of the city being able to apply raises to their employees. While many may think the Mayor has the power to make these major decisions, they are ultimately made by the council.

My position as Mayor in our City was to be administrator of the employees of City Hall and the department heads of the Fire, Police and Public Works Departments. I said “was,” because those duties for me have been changed by our council members. Although I continue to hold the title of administrator, the council has assumed the responsibility of administrator over the Public Works Director and the City Treasurer by ordinance as of December 10, 2020. As administrator of the Public Works Director, they are also responsible for everything that falls under his position. That includes the Water Utilities, the Street, Sanitation, Recycling and Parks of the City of El Dorado.

While I still accept phone calls regarding any of these departments and try my best to find resolutions to any of problems of our citizens, the council would rather be the ones to handle them. As far as the Treasurer’s position and everything that comes with it, the council is also responsible for administrative actions. We have been without a City Treasurer for over a month.

I want everyone to have an accurate understanding of how things work in our City. Our elected officials holding the positions of Mayor, Council Members, Clerk and Attorney are elected to serve you. Understand how you are being served.

If you have any questions or concerns, please make sure you have them answered or addressed by individuals who are giving you the correct information. Again, it is important that everyone understands the practices and procedures of our City. Facing accusations of acting, reacting or not in certain situations inaccurately is disheartening, but it comes with the territory. My skin is thick, and my faith is strong. I am also mindful of Proverbs 9:10 that states “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding”.

Veronica Smith-Creer is the Mayor of El Dorado. She can be reached at [email protected]

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