GLENARDEN, Md. (DC News Now) — The Glenarden City Council is looking to change the structure of the government, which could change the power of the mayor.
According to city council members, there has not been a charter amendment review process in years.
Dozens of residents showed up for a meeting at the Glenarden Municipal Center on Thursday evening to voice their concerns about the ongoing power struggle.
Some say the current system is not working, while others insisted this is a power grab by the city council but overall residents want the council and mayor to work together.
The council shared a presentation during the meeting of what the process would look like in order to make changes to the government’s structure.
“The government structure that we have right now is a hybrid structure. So it has council-manager elements, and it has strong mayor elements. What we’re looking to do is figuring out the areas that need to be aligned a little bit more so that we can operate more effectively as a city,” said council member Erika Fareed.
City Council members said that they are trying to clarify overlapping duties and restructure the city’s government by adding the mayoral position to the city council. The proposed charter would give the mayor legislative authority, but they would not operate as a separate body. They will also fill the city manager role and that person will be the person to execute on the policies that would be set by the council and the mayor.
“In my opinion, bringing the mayor to that table would in fact expand her role. And then it would also allow us as a collective body both the mayor and council members proper to set the policy for the city and then the city administrator which we have had since the 1940s would be the person to administer and execute the policies,” said Fareed.
“One of the biggest complaints that we’ve heard is that the mayor doesn’t have any authority and that most of the authority lies with the council that is in fact true. And so the proposal that we were making was to bring the mayor to the table like super proverbially sit at the table,” she continued.
The current mayor of the city of Glenarden Casheena Cross does not believe this is the right move for the city.
“It’s not to bring the mayor into the fold is to bring the mayor into the fold to control. This is about lordship,” said Cross. “we’ve always had a strong mayor and city council. That’s where we are and that’s where we need to stay. The citizens of Glenarm are very deliberate citizens. They know exactly what they need, and they vote deliberately to help them grow.”
Thursday’s meeting was an introduction to the idea for the public to hear. The council plans on having more meetings before a possible vote.