Hiring a borough manager a bad idea

Posted: Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Hiring a manager, picked by the borough assembly, to operate the Kenai Peninsula borough is a very bad idea and has every appearance of an attempted power grab by the assembly by an end-run around the critical function of our mayor's office.

The approval rating of Congress right now is, what, about 20 percent? That's because the American public knows they're all a bunch of rascals. All except our congressmen, of course. The same old bunch is re-elected year after year after year because each rascal convinces the folks at home he or she is a good politician. The same obtains for our borough assembly. The same bunch is re-elected year after year after year because each is able to convince their district that he or she is a good politician.

Allowing our borough assembly to cherry-pick a manager guaranteed to implement the borough assembly's agenda would be analogous to allowing Congress to cherry-pick the president to implement Congress' agenda. Scary. Not a pretty picture at all.

Our Founding Fathers understood human nature very well; they understood that power corrupts and instituted a system of checks and balances as a deterrent to the abuse of political power and special-interest politics.

No, as long as our borough assembly is elected by district, we need the office of mayor, elected at large, as a critical check and balance against a perpetually elected political oligarchy. That our current borough assembly members would attempt to do away with the sole restraint on their collective power should alarm us all.

We should reject the notion of a politically picked manager and retain the office of mayor to operate the Kenai Peninsula Borough. The office of mayor is our only check and balance against the power of the borough assembly.

"The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse," said James Madison.

John Nelson


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