City Council Overrides Mayoral Veto of Accountability Ordinance with 7-0 vote

Passes Ordinance Expanding Legislative Accountability of City Government

Williamsport City Councilman Adam Yoder sent out a press release Thursday evening on behalf of City Council addressing the passage of an “Ordinance Expanding Legislative Accountability of City Government”.

On August 27th, Williamsport City Council passed an ordinance in second reading expanding the legislative accountability of City Government. After Mayor Slaughter Vetoed the ordinance on September 4th, City Council overrode the veto by a vote of 7-0 at their September 10th meeting.

The proposal from Councilman Adam Yoder expands the advice and consent abilities of council through the creation of three new departments (Human Resources, Public Works and Transportation / River Valley Transit) and modification of a third department (formerly Administration, now Finance and Administration).

In addition to expansion of City Council’s expansion of advice and consent abilities and modifying the formal
departments of city government, the recently passed ordinance allows City Council to:

• Elimination of the abilities of department directors to take on multiple positions within city government
without Council approval

• Recommend the removal of Department Heads by providing guidance to future Council members to do so

• Perform an annual review of the structure of the Administration during the annual capital budget review
process to ensure the City of Williamsport is providing city services to its stakeholders as efficiently and
professionally as possible, and that City Council’s accountability mechanisms are up to date

Said Yoder – “As we have seen in prior years before our current slate of elected leaders assumed office, the
informal organization of City Government has not aligned with the formal structure of City Government as
written in the Administrative Code, resulting in individuals serving in multiple roles, members of prior
administrations losing focus on important responsibilities, and lines being blurred between departments and
individuals – all the while City Council not having the ability to provide the proper checks and balances required
to prevent this.

As these actions have likely resulted in mistakes and failures to provide adequate services to the
stakeholders of the City as transparently and efficiently as possible, it is prudent of us to start to address these
structural flaws now while they are fresh on our minds.”

Voted into law September 10th, the new ordinance will take effect on October 1, 2020.

Upon taking effect, Department heads for Public Works, Human Resources, Transportation, and Finance/Administration must come before council for approval before assuming the leadership duties of their respective departments.

Yoder concluded “I look forward to a vigorous discussion on Mayor Slaughter’s proposed leaders of our newly formed departments. I trust Mayor Slaughter will bring forward qualified candidates identified through a consistent and transparent hiring process”.

The link to the meeting can be found here.