Logie Not Running But Will Campaign

    GRAND RAPIDS — Mayor John Logie took city commissioners by surprise Tuesday when he announced he will not seek another term in 2003, just before the City Commission voted to place a referendum for a full-time mayor on the November ballot.

    The proposed charter amendment would make the mayor’s job a full-time post with full-time salary as of Jan. 1, 2004, the start of the next term.

    Logie wasn’t expected to declare whether or not he would run again until sometime after Thanksgiving, as has been his pattern in past mayoral elections.

    He said he decided to announce his intention not to seek re-election so the charter amendment issue would not become “a referendum on me.”

    “I will now be able to actively campaign for its passage without anyone questioning my own motives in doing so,” he said.

    “I firmly believe that it is in the city’s best interest to have someone working at this job full time. I’m willing to give up the chance for another term to allow me to convince you first, and hopefully our citizens, that it’s the right thing for the future of our city.”

    The city charter dates to 1916, but the city has undergone significant development since then, Logie said. The job of mayor has been growing along with it and needs a serious boost, he added.

    Logie first floated the idea of a full-time mayor at his state of the city address in January.

    His original charter amendment proposal was for a strong-mayor form of government that would have given the mayor veto power and shifted much of the responsibility for the city from the city manager to the mayor.

    In response to commissioners’ comments and objections to the strong mayor proposal, which were aired at a luncheon June 25, Logie said he removed from the original proposal every objection he heard.

    “After listening to all of your concerns I decided if we could come together on the basic concept of a full-time mayor that I wouldn’t try to convince you of the value of things that you didn’t like,” he said.

    The revised proposal retains the strengths of the council-manager form of government, which Logie said he continues to support.

    Under the charter amendment, the mayor assumes the leadership role in all inter-governmental relations, reviews the city manager’s budget, recommends salaries of appointed officials and reviews all major public improvement proposals.

    The City Commission decided the mayor’s salary would be left for the Local Officer’s Compensation Commission to determine, deleting from the charter proposal an annual salary figure of $70,000.

    The job currently pays $35,000 a year.

    At the same time, commissioners supported adding language to the amendment clarifying that “the mayor shall keep regular office and working hours generally consistent with those kept by the city manager and the city manager’s top staff.”

    Commissioners thanked Logie for his years of service to the city and were unanimous in their praise of his performance as mayor.

    “I think you’ll be the standard by which all future mayors are judged,” said Third Ward Commissioner Scott Bowen.

    Logie began his first term as mayor in January 1992. He won re-election in 1995 and again in 1999. His current term expires Dec. 31, 2003.           

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