With a budget of more than $120 million and 800 employees, the city government of Peoria provides services that affect the everyday lives of all of our citizens and visitors. Since some people may not understand the basic organization and workings of our city, I thought it might be helpful to give a brief review of how our city works.
We have a council/manager form of government. Ten council members and the mayor serve as a “board of directors” of the corporate entity known as the City of Peoria. The mayor chairs the board, and the city manager runs the city on a day-to-day basis. The city is operated under the jurisdiction of various state and federal statutes, as well as the Code of the City of Peoria. Peoria is a home rule city, meaning we have more power to make our own decisions than municipalities without home rule.
The mayor and five members of the council are elected at-large, or by the entire city electorate. Peoria uses an unusual process called cumulative voting for at-large elections. In this format, voters may cast a total of five votes for the candidates of their choice. They may cast one for each candidate, five for one candidate, or any combination thereof. The remaining five members are elected in five districts, with voters in each district casting votes only for their respective district candidates. Candidates for at-large council were elected in 2003 and serve for four years; the mayor and district councilmen will stand for election in 2005 and also serve four years.
The City Council meets at 6:15 p.m., every Tuesday, in the council chambers at Peoria City Hall. The make-up of the current city council is as follows:
- Mayor: David P. Ransburg, elected 2001, term expires 2005.
- At-Large Councilmen, elected 2003, terms expire 2007: Jim Ardis, Chuck Grayeb, John Morris, Gary Sandberg, and Eric Turner.
- District Councilmen, elected 2001, terms expire 2005: District 1—Clyde Gulley; District 2—Marcella Teplitz; District 3—Gale Thetford; District 4—Bill Spears; and District 5—Patrick Nichting.
A professional staff, headed by the city manager, runs the day-to-day operations of the city. The city manager is appointed by, and serves at the pleasure of, the city council. Our current city manager is Bern Ewert, who succeeded Mike McKnight. Bern is serving on an interim basis while the council conducts a search for a permanent city manager.
The city manager is responsible for assembling a team of top professionals to head the city’s various departments. This group serves as the management team that runs the many aspects of Peoria government. Among the key departments are police, fire, public works, economic development, inspections, planning and growth management, legal, and finance.
The backbone of our city government is the hundreds of employees who handle the everyday tasks we sometimes take for granted, but are absolutely essential in making our city work. The police and firefighters who protect us, the public works employees who maintain our streets and transportation needs, the inspectors who help make our buildings safe, and the clerks who deal with customer service at city hall all work very hard to make city government effective, efficient, and responsive.
Citizens become involved in city government by participating in various boards and commissions, through their neighborhood groups, or by appearing before the council to state their point of view on issues of importance to them.
You can find out more information about Peoria city government by visiting out Web site at www.ci.peoria.il.us. IBI