Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Dozens of citizens against the strong mayor referendum protested outside of a Columbia City Council work session Tuesday.
Communities for a Great Columbia is urging council to delay taking action on the referendum until December 3rd so they can educate voters about the impact it could have on the city.
Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and others are proposing changing the city's form of government from a manager-council to a mayor-council. In short, the law would give the mayor power over many of the day-to-day duties of running the city that are currently held by the city manager.
The pro strong-mayor advocates the required signatures on a petition calling for a special election on the issue, and want to the measure voted on the same day of the November 5th municipal election.
"This is not about Mayor Benjamin, this is not about any one person in particular," said Howard Duval of Communities for a Great Columbia. "This is about a form of government that we are going to have for decades to come. And it should not have an emotional attachment of being pulled either for or against by Mayor Benjamin and his campaign or the others that are running."
The certification process on the ballot has to be completed before Friday as absentee ballots have to be printed and distributed 45 days before the election.