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To the editor:

The Providence City Council is planning to vote at their next meeting on May 14 on whether to hire a city manager. There has been no public hearing on this important matter, and it was first discussed informally at last week's City Council meeting.

Providence voters defeated a City Manager Initiative less than three years ago as an initiative on our ballot — with 62.1% of the votes cast against the city manager option. Some of the reasons that initiative was defeated are as follows:

A city manager would add at least on average $130,000 (including benefits) more to our city budget (i.e., our taxes); additional hiring, training and resignations would add to that cost; for problem resolution, easy citizen access to city managers is notoriously difficult; a non-resident, non-elected official would present a higher risk of graft; an elected mayor can be replaced via the ballot when a change is needed; the Providence voters elected our current mayor for his full uninterrupted term; cities that need city managers typically have a bigger job than is required in Providence due to their own police departments, fire departments, golf courses and airports which require more administrative oversight; a wish for the city manager form of government implies a wish for a bigger, more complex, more expensive city than we are currently enjoying —or possibly even some developers' wishes for easier approvals with less citizen participation.

We are disappointed that such a major change in our city government would not be automatically addressed on the ballot rather than as a purported sudden whim or emergency. It could fit nicely on our ballot with the referendum measure which will allow us to cancel inappropriate zoning changes which would otherwise destroy established single-family neighborhoods.

We need some good leadership in Providence. Registrations for candidates running for Providence City Council are due between June 3 and June 7, 8 a.m to 5 p.m.

Bob Bissland

and Laura Fisher