Motivations for Council Reduction

Proposal: Reduce Council Size from 9 to 7.

Background: The last serious consideration of this was 10 years ago (Fall 1994), but there has been at least one brief consideration since.

Not surprisingly, the arguments for and against are little changed, but some of the tradeoffs have changed.

There is little contention that smaller groups have more effective meetings (both better decisions and quicker decision-making). As promised, I won't go into the arguments about why seven might be better than nine.

The controversy relates to who will likely be in that smaller group. Most people's first thought is "Great. My two least-favorite Council members will no longer be there." However, you need to consider what the situation would be if it were your two favorite Council members who were not there and your two least-favorite members who were now had more influence because they were two of seven rather than two of nine.

Reducing the size of Council could dramatically change the dynamics of the elections (skipping details as promised). Conventional political wisdom is that the skills needed to be a good campaigner are very different from those needed to be good office-holder. You don't want a Council that is dominated by great campaigners who are lackluster at actual governance. However, you also don't want the people who would be effective at governance to decide not to run because they don't see themselves able put those skills to good use.

A second controversy revolves around the workload for being a Council member - Council duties are much more than just attending Council meetings.

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