Measure L, which would abandon Sacramento’s current council-manager structure in favor of the mayor-council system, will not strengthen the city’s government. Instead it would weaken the policy-making and representative role of the elected governing body as a whole and diminish the role of professional management while strengthening the powers of a single individual—the mayor.
It is instructive to borrow a lesson from the corporate world regarding governance. We have seen how too much power concentrated in too few individuals, poor incentive structures, and weak oversight can be disastrous. Many of the principles encompassed in the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act, a.k.a., Sarbanes-Oxley—which include independent directors, a chairperson who is not the CEO, a strong commitment to the oversight role of the board, transparency of action, and a strong commitment to ethics—are at the core of the council-manager form of government.