Columbia, SC (WLTX) - After hours of debate tonight the Columbia City Council struck down a vote to put a referendum on the November ballot for the city to switch to a "strong mayor" for of government.
There was standing room only at Tuesday's council meeting and after four hours of debate council voted 4-3 striking down the proposed referendum saying there needs to be more time to educate the public on the two types of government.
More than 20 citizens spoke out about the strong mayor issue.
With the current form of government, the city has a city council, a mayor who is part-time and a full-time city manager.
With a strong mayor system there would be a city council and a mayor that is full-time and would assume most of the same day to day duties that a city manager has.
Mayor Benjamin, who is running for re-election this November, said that this vote would allow people to hold the mayor accountable.
Council members Leona Plaugh, Sam Davis, Tameika Issac-Devine and Moe Baddourah all voted against the referendum.
"I don't think this was driven by what the citizens wanted, I think certain people made this an issue to campaign for but I don't feel like me voting to put it on the November ballot is the best thing to do at this time," said Devine.
Devine is requesting that council and other agencies work together to help educate the public about the differences between the two mayoral systems.