A ballot initiative in Casper is aiming to give residents the ability to choose what form of local government their city operates under. Right now, Casper’s city council hires a city manager to handle employees and daily operations. The council also selects a mayor from within their ranks, but the position has little power.
If the ballot initiative gets 3,700 signatures, voters could begin a new system where voters would elect the mayor position. The new mayoral role would oversee daily operations in place of a city manager.
Casper resident Keith Rolland attended this week’s city council meeting to bring the initiative to the attention of council and the mayor.
“When you vote for someone for mayor, you vote for somebody who’s been here for a while,” said Rolland. “You wouldn’t vote for someone who just got here last week.”
Councilwoman Amanda Huckabay said the decision should be left up to residents.
“I think there are probably drawbacks and perks to each of those systems,” said Huckabay. “But I think that that is something that the general public should decide.”
Casper’s city government has been heavily criticized over the last year, and tensions have escalated following the alleged mishandling of multiple sexual assault cases by the Casper Police Department. A third-party survey also revealed potential leadership issues at the department and possible neglect of complaints from officers that reported a hostile work environment to human resources and the former city manager, V.H. McDonald, who took an early retirement amid the allegations.