Annapolis City Council considers stripping mayor's powers

Annapolis Alderman Ross Arnett insists the City Council's decision to take another look at making the mayor's job a more ceremonial role has nothing to do with party politics.

But if the Democrat-majority council acts to remove the mayor's power, the timing will coincide with the election of Annapolis' first Republican mayor in nearly two decades, Mike Pantelides, who defeated the incumbent Democrat, Mayor Josh Cohen, last week.

"I think that's the right system," he said of the council-manager style of government being considered. Arnett plans to introduce a charter amendment in the coming weeks to make the change.

In a council-manager city government, an appointed manager would run the city and report to the council, not the mayor. Arnett, a Democrat who represents Ward 8, said it would ensure someone qualified instead of an elected official is at the helm.

The Annapolis Capitol reported that at least three other Aldermen -- Ian Pfeiffer, Sheila Finlayson, and Joe Budge --- would support a full council-manager form of government.

Arnett said he has been a proponent of council-manager government from day one. Annapolis is in the minority among Maryland's small municipalities with a strong-mayor government, he said. He hopes new legislation will bring it in line with others around the state.

"I proposed this when Josh Cohen was mayor," Arnett said. "This is something that is not new."

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