FREEPORT, Ill., August 8, 2016 – On Monday, August 8, 2016, The Committee to Change City Government delivered 768 petition signatures – over 70 pages of signatures – to the Circuit Clerk’s office. This is well over the minimum of 498 signatures required, with that requirement being based on a percentage of votes from the last municipal election. The Committee reviewed two different required percentages, one from the County Clerk and the other from the Circuit Clerk’s office, and chose to use the higher minimum percentage to ensure that the referendum would appear on the ballot.
The successful grassroots petition drive is a significant step toward placing 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 question that will appear on the ballot will read, “SHALL THE CITY OF FREEPORT ADOPT THE MANAGERIAL FORM OF MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT?”
The Committee sincerely thanks the many volunteers who circulated petitions in order to get the referendum placed on the ballot.
Mike Thompson, co-chair of the Committee, is not surprised by the successful petition drive. “We have received consistently positive feedback on our effort to get the referendum on the ballot. This is just an indication of the grassroots support we already have in our drive to take this important step to enhance Freeport’s future.”
Joan Welt, a member of the Committee who helped lead the petition drive, commented that “We set a very aggressive target of collecting 1,000 signatures, which would have been twice the minimum required. Even though we didn’t reach that lofty goal, we are delighted that we were able to collect significantly more than the minimum number required.”
Pat Leitzen Fye, co-chair of the Committee, sees tremendous advantages for Freeport with the Council-Manager form of government. According to Leitzen-Fye, “Most people we talk to are either already in favor of the change, or want to learn more. They recognize that 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 Joe Vaske, another member of the Committee, “Adopting the managerial form of government would bring a non-political, professional City Manager to lead Freeport’s city departments, implement policy, and manage budgets. This allows the Council to serve as the elected voice of the people and focus on long-range strategic leadership, legislation and policy.”
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