FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The Fairbanks City Council has rejected an attempt to change the makeup of the council and to limit the mayor's participation.
Councilman Gene Redden's ordinance would have allowed voters to reduce the size of the council and eliminate the mayor's role in the legislative branch. However, it failed to gain a unanimous vote, which was required to amend the city charter.
''The mayor should be and is the most informed person on this body,'' Councilman Charlie Rex said as he argued against the ordinance. ''He's the only one doing this full-time.''
Redden said the mayor's job, held by Jim Hayes, holds too much power at council meetings. The mayor sets the agenda and serves as presiding officer. He can break ties and veto items. It takes five members to overturn a veto.
Redden said the current power structure made the council a toothless tiger in both public perception and reality.
''The council really has very little effect or impact,'' Redden said. ''The mayor, with just two (council member) votes, can do anything he wants.''
The ordinance was amended to change the number of council members from seven to five. The change received unanimous approval but the overall ordinance failed.
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