Should post be part time?

Recent news about the full-time Gloversville mayor getting a second job should raise the issue of whether the mayoral seat should be part time.

The city council is considering changing the city’s form of government from the current council-mayor form to a council-manager system, but officials also should look at simply making the mayor’s job part time – with a part-time salary – as another option.

Late last month, the Common Council scheduled a July 22 public hearing on the potential change to a council-manager system and decided to draft a law for a public referendum.

Under the council-manager system, the council is the legislative body and an appointed city manager is the executive body. The mayor would be a member of the city council and act as the chairman, and together with the council would appoint a professionally trained city manager. The city manager would be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the city.

The change may have its merits, but so would switching to a part-time mayor with lower pay.

Gloversville Mayor Dayton King earns a full-time salary – $41,034 this year – for his elected position. However, earlier this year, the mayor started a second job as an insurance account manager for Mang Insurance at the company’s Gloversville office.

King is not the first city mayor to get a job while in office, and it’s also not the first time this mayor – now in his second term – has held a private-sector job while mayor.

If the mayor has time for a second job, we have to wonder whether Gloversville needs a full-time mayor.

The Gloversville departments are staffed with professionals. They should have no problem carrying out their duties in a city that has a part-time mayor. The city of Johnstown seems to manage fine with a part-time mayor.

A mayor who only is expected to work at the position part time would be free to pursue another job without others questioning it, as long as the second job poses no conflict of interest.

A key issue here is expectations. Because the mayor is paid with the expectation he’s a full-time official, some people think the mayor should be available at City Hall during normal working hours.

The reality is that may not be the best way to govern a city, and we suspect there may not be enough work to justify spending 40 hours a week in the mayor’s office.

It’s important to note this discussion should not be about the current mayor. It should be about the mayors who come after him. No change to part time should be attempted until King’s term expires.