It has taken me some time to write about the JAX Chamber trip to Greenville, SC as life sometimes gets in the way of a blog.
The city of Greenville has about 61,000 people (474,000 people in the county) vs. 842,500 people living in Jacksonville according to Census estimates and is 21.6 sq. miles (785 miles county-wide) vs. the 747 (give or take) sq. miles miles occupied by Jacksonville. Jacksonville is the largest city in area in the contiguous 48 states. What can we learn from Greenville?
1. Consistency of leadership and smaller government can be a good thing!
Mayor Knox White has been in office since 1995. He is a lawyer and serves as mayor in a part-time capacity, earning $20,000 a year for that role. There are 7 city council members and 5 of them are women (the mayor is one of the two men serving on city council).
Greenville adopted the Council-Manager form of government in 1976. From their web site:
Under this form of government, the Mayor and City Council set policy, such as establishing service standards and guiding the City’s development. The City Council serves as the “Board of Directors” for the municipal corporation. The Mayor functions as the “Chairman of the Board.” Although City Council members devote a great deal of time to guiding the City, they are not full-time employees.
The “President,” or “Chief Executive Officer” of the corporation is the City Manager. The City Manager is responsible for daily operations through administration of the annual budget, which is approved by City Council. All employees of the City report directly or indirectly to the City Manager, with the exception of the Municipal Judge and City Attorney. Both these positions, as well as the City Manager, are directly appointed by the City Council. Other appointees of Council include all Assistant and Administrative Judges.