Committee to Change City Government Kicks-Off Council-Manager Referendum

FREEPORT, Ill., July 8, 2016 – On Wednesday, July 13, 2016, The Committee to Change City Government will host a news conference and kick-off event at the Stephenson County Farm Bureau, 210 W. Spring St., Freeport, Ill at 11:00 a.m.

The Committee to Change City Government will announce their plans to place a referendum on the ballot in November which, if passed, would change Freeport’s form of municipal government to the Managerial (Council-Manager) form of government.  The Committee will invite volunteers to circulate petitions in order to get the referendum placed on the ballot.  Petition signing and petition circulator training will be available immediately after the kick-off.

Mike Thompson, co-chair of the Committee, is excited about the prospect of taking this important first step toward getting the referendum on the November ballot:  “Our goal is to gather 1,000 signatures of Freeport voters who would like to see this on the ballot in the election on November 8th.

The question that will appear on the ballot will read, “SHALL THE CITY OF FREEPORT ADOPT THE MANAGERIAL FORM OF MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT?”

The Committee believes that the answer is a resounding YES.

Pat Leitzen Fye, co-chair of the Committee, sees tremendous advantages for Freeport with the Council-Manager form of government.  According to Leitzen-Fye, “The current form of government has served Freeport for many years.  The proposed change is not about any specific political party or elected public servants, but about changing Freeport’s form of government in order to meet our needs in the future.

Chris Schneiderman, a member of the Committee, states, “The Council-Manager form of government would put Freeport in a much stronger position to deal with its many challenges.  It offers the opportunity for a combination of long-range strategic leadership from the Council and Mayor, supported by efficient operational leadership from a professional trained in the administration of a city. The Committee believes this will position Freeport for critical economic growth and development.

According to Dr. Jeff Gehlsen, another member of the Committee, “Adopting the managerial form of government would bring a non-political, professional City Manager to oversee Freeport’s vital departments. Council members and a part-time mayor will still form the City Council.  This allows the Council to serve strictly as the elected voice of the people and focus on policy and budget oversight while the City Manager oversees city departments, implementation of policy, and adherence to budgets.

Bruce Johnson is the Executive Director of the Stephenson County Farm Bureau and also a member of the Committee.  “We welcome everyone interested in the future of Freeport to join us for coffee, rolls and more information about this important initiative,” said Johnson.

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