Ithaca’s mayor is expected to be the chief executive officer of the City as well as the legislative, political, and ceremonial leader. There are too many responsibilities for one person and they demand different kinds of talents.The Chief of Staff is hired by and reports to the Mayor and serves as the chief administrative office. But any authority that the Chief of Staff has, such as supervising department heads, is delegated by the Mayor, which creates confusion about who has true authority to make decisions. This is especially true when a Mayor does not give clear or consistent direction to the Chief of Staff. An appointed City Manager is neutral politically and will ensure that the policies created by Common Council and the Mayor are implemented.
Every mayor of Ithaca for the past twenty years has advocated for a significant change in the structure of city government, as the current system cannot provide the citizens of Ithaca the level of service they want and deserve.