Superior Votes To Keep Full Time Mayor
The referendum decision for Superior voters on whether or not to move to a part-time mayoral position - along with the hiring of a full-time administrator was struck down at the polls on election day. News sources show that "about 71% or voters....[voted] no to the referendum....[that was] placed on the....ballot by a majority of the city council". 5% of voters on Tuesday submitted their ballot without a check-mark either way. With the no vote winning, Superior's mayoral-form of government will remain in place.
The impetus for the referendum was the study performed by RW Consulting Group - which reviewed operations in the City of Superior. One of their recommendations was a change in the way that the city would be governed. Their recommendation was to switch from a full-time mayor to a part-time position, while adding a full-time city administrator to the roster to carry out the leadership role.
Placement on the ballot was spearheaded by former city councilor Dan Olson. The decision was made to let citizens have their voice heard via the referendum.
Superior is no stranger to the city administrator form of government. For a while in the 1940's and 1950's, that's the form of leadership for the city. Historical features from that era suggest that the situation was less-than-ideal, with a variety of problems emerging between the city administrator and the city council.
No matter what the outcome of the referendum was, it wouldn't have affected current Mayor Jim Paine's position. If a 'yes' was reached, the position would have moved to part-time after his term. For his part, Paine was pleased with the results:
"I wasn't terribly surprised. It just showed the city wasn't interested in going backwards....they've always been the one's in charge and I think they wanted to keep it that way."
Additionally, Paine says that there have been efficiency methods implemented by the city to reduce expenses. "We've been able to cut taxes and increase services under the elected model". He also suggested that the numbers didn't add up in regards to a cost-savings with a part-time mayor position and full-time city administrator as compared to the current full-time mayor; starting salary for a full-time city administrator would be about $120,000 in addition to an approximate $10,000 cost for a nationwide candidate search. The current starting salary for the mayors position in Superior is $85,000.