The question as it will appear on the ballot for your consideration

Shall the city of Danville, Illinois, adopt the managerial form of municipal government and continue to elect aldermen from wards?

We believe the answer is YES!

Interested in knowing what a city manager does and how they operate? Watch this video.

Moving Danville Forward held a community forum on Wednesday, May 30th.  Video courtesy of WITY Radio.

Moving Danville Forward held a community forum on Monday, June 18th. The Mayor and City Manager of Streator, IL shared how their town operates.

Video courtesy of WITY Radio.

Here is the video of a recent forum held at DACC on October 1st.

Moving Danville Forward is a grassroots, non-partisan group of concerned citizens who feel that a change is needed in how our city operates.  We believe that having a trained, certified and experienced city manager handle the day-to-day operations of Danville is an effective and proven practice that offers citizens the best value for their taxpayer dollars.
This effort does not change the current structure set in 1987 where we have a 14-member aldermanic structure of the Danville city council along with a city-wide elected mayor. That all stays exactly the same. The difference is that the mayor would not handle day-to-day operations’, a city manager would.  The mayor would move from a full-time to a part-time position. The task as mayor will be to craft the policies and vision of moving Danville forward as well as promoting everything great about this city.  Meanwhile, an experienced city manager will be making sure that Danville is running well while navigating the murky waters of our State.  Rough seas ahead, indeed. The fact is that more municipalities in the United States, over a population of 2500, use a city manager than do not.  It is also a fact that cities that operate under council-manager are nearly 10% more efficient than those that operate under mayor-council.
We believe that Mayor Eisenhauer has been a true asset for us for the past 16 years and we have been fortunate to have someone who has dedicated his life to Danville.  Now we must look toward the future if we want to make smart decisions on how our city will operate for our future mayors. We think that the passage of this proposal would encourage more of our citizens to consider running for mayor. If every future mayoral candidate possessed the formal education and intimate knowledge of how to run a $51 million, 200+ employee City, and the best strategies and organizational techniques to succeed, we wouldn’t need this. But that just isn’t going to happen.  To expect one person to do that AND navigate a whole city is not fair to them or to the taxpayers. The mayor is the leader and the face of Danville.  We feel that switching to a city manager will give us the best of both worlds.  This will allow our tax money to be spent as wisely as possible to avoid tax and fee increases.
We ask you to keep an open mind and to please not hesitate to ask us any questions you may have about this.  We love Danville, too, and are open for a discussion.  
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How many other communities use the council-management form?

The majority do.

**Total for the number of U.S. local governments includes only those municipalities with populations of 2,500 or more for which form of government is known. There are close to 30,000 local government with populations fewer than 2,500.

U.S. Cities with City Managers

Phoenix, San Antonio, Dallas, Las Vegas, Charlotte

Cities on I-74 with City Managers

Rock Island, Galesburg, Peoria, Bloomington, and Champaign

What is the role of a City Manager?

In a managerial form of government, a professionally-trained city manager is hired by, and answerable to the City Council to handle the day-to-day operations of Danville city government.  The city manager is an at-will employee who can be fired at any time by a majority vote of the Council.  The Council sets the policies and path that city government should take, and the city manager implements it. Their goal is to build a team so that Danville can run as efficiently as possible.  This, in turn, can allow the city council to plan for future projects and solutions to our ever-changing needs.
Most managers come into the community from elsewhere and have no allegiances.  They bring with them the ideas and strategies from other cities.   Their goal is to show positive results to keep their jobs and advance their careers.  They’re not cutting ribbons – they’re cutting deficits.
City managers are expected to be nonpartisan and politically neutral as they carry out the decisions of the council. In fact, the International City-County Management Association (ICMA) Code of Ethics specifically prohibits city managers from any political activity beyond voting.  If city managers violate the code, they can be censured and lose their ICMA membership.  In other words, a city manager’s career depends on being neutral in all facets of the job.

Some of the functions of a city manager:

How does the Mayor’s role change?

There would still be a mayor elected city-wide, and that person would still be the leader of Danville.  They just no longer have to be burdened with running a day-to-day operation in a state that is in serious financial trouble, as is our city.  Instead, future mayors can do what they do best, be “the face of Danville” and promote our city and our citizens.  We want them to be able to sit at more kitchen tables than desks. We need them to bring the city together as a community so that we can solve our problems collectively. Our future mayors will drive the policy along with the City Council to shape the future of Danville. The mayor will always have a big say in how Danville is run and the legacy that they leave.
So why now?  We feel that this is the most appropriate time to achieve this improvement.  The upcoming municipal election to choose our next mayor is Spring 2019.  Putting it to a vote now will set the responsibilities of each office before the election.

Some of the functions of the mayor:

How does this affect the City Council?

The current 14 Alderperson structure will NOT change. 

This map would remain the same.

City of Danville Ward Map
Changing our form of government to Council-Manager will give the city council MORE power to effect changes for the good of Danville.  Currently, only one person (the mayor) controls the day-to-day functions.  With a city manager who is accountable to the alderpersons, who in turn are accountable to the voters gives us more representation throughout our community.
The 14 alderpersons are the legislative body and the community’s policymakers. Power is centralized in this body, which approves the budget and adopts local laws and regulations. The elected officials also focus on big-picture goals, such as community growth and sustainability. The elected officials hire our city manager based on that person’s education, experience, skills, and abilities and NOT on their political allegiances. The elected officials supervise the manager’s performance, and if that person is not responsive and effective in their role, the elected officials have the authority to remove her or him at any time.
We want our alderpersons to be the ones who oversee our new city manager. We elect them to represent our wards. Our aldermen are more connected to us because they live in our neighborhoods and they have the same desires. We trust that before a city manager is hired, they will investigate and engage each candidate in order to choose the person whom they feel will do the best job for the city of Danville.
Switching to a city manager is not a loss of representation, it’s more.

Some of the functions of the alderpersons:

Want to learn more about the Council-Manager Form of local government that we are proposing?  We will be adding presentations, studies, and other information during our campaign this summer/fall.
In the meantime, here is a good starting point that was put together by the Michigan Local Government Management Association to inform people how their cities are operating under this form of government.