A local Tea Party conservative wants Corpus Christi to move from a council and City Manager form of government because he believes the way city government runs now stifles potential growth.
“There’s no leadership in our city to take the reins and say let’s grow this city economically,” said Pastor Rick Milby of the Corpus Christi Patriots Tea Party.
To find that missing leadership, Milby and other Tea Party officials want Corpus Christi to have a strong mayor.
“If you have a strong mayor, the mayor becomes the CEO of the city,” said Milby. “They set the vision, they are responsible, they can hire and fire department leaders of our city.”
But the city’s current mayor doesn’t agree.
“I’d be hard-pressed to advocate moving to that type of government here in Corpus Christi,” said Mayor Joe McComb.
McComb believes in having a strong City Manager, with the city council providing guidance.
“The council is the board of directors, you give direction and have input,” said McComb. “If you don’t like the direction, you can move the direction or you can change managers if they don’t seem to be responsive to the council.”
Milby thinks changing managers is a step the city is hesitant to pursue.
“In the last 50 years, we’ve only fired one City Manager,” said Milby.
Milby wants residents to decide in 2020 through a public referendum, but that’s been tried before.
“The citizens have voted on that twice, I think in the last 10-15 years, and overwhelmingly said no,” said McComb.
Milby believes his plan is gaining momentum, and that having a strong mayor will attract stronger mayoral candidates.
“I think you’ll raise up people in our cities that’ll be visionaries,” said Milby. “Business people who are really intelligent, strong, that love their city, and want to see something happen.”
If the system changes, so will the mayor’s salary, which currently stands at $9,000 a year.
While McComb doesn’t support the idea, his runoff opponent Michael said he would support the change.
One thing almost everyone agrees on? Extending the mayor and council’s terms to four years.