2020 has been a challenging year. But in 2019, before COVID19 redefined our lives, over 1,500 of our friends and neighbors, our city’s taxpayers, signed a citizens’ petition to place charter reform on the ballot this November. The City Council voted to put the proposal on the ballot in October 2019. No one could have predicted during the fall of 2019 that we would be faced with the challenges COVID19 has presented.
The COVID19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the inefficiencies and leadership deficits at every level of our society. In Saratoga Springs, it has shown the need for accountability, representation and transparency from our city government in order to restart our economy safely.
Right now, both the public and private sectors are re-thinking their approaches to addressing challenges and solving problems.
In 2016, the professionals in City Hall reported that they spent up to 50% of their time navigating the departmental silos that are a direct product of our present Commission form of government. It’s 2020, and our city professionals are still faced with figuring out who’s in charge on various issues and fixing what falls between the cracks.
This year, everyone from our merchants on Broadway to our visitors and citizens have heard inconsistent and confusing messages from City Hall– especially when it comes to the public’s safety. In normal times, eliminating inefficiency improves everyday operations. During a pandemic, it will give us a workforce that is ready for any crisis.
It’s time for Saratoga Springs’ form of government to evolve from a turn of the last century at-large Commissioner form of government to a 21st century truly representative form with neighborhoods represented, the mayor strengthened with a vital policy making voice and a government run by the professionals.
Some say changing our charter in the middle of a pandemic isn’t the right time. But, it is. The challenges that lie before us are substantial–we need a professional city government that can answer the challenges presented by COVID and move us forward. We need a City Hall that takes representation seriously so that we can help our neighbors and our neighborhoods. We need a Saratoga that works for all of us.
Our goals are simple–the ART of government:
- Real representation
Bringing the ART of government to Saratoga Springs provides us all with the heart of government we need.