Former Mayors James C. Galie and Jacob A. Palillo said Wednesday they favor keeping the current form of government and strengthening the powers of the mayor.
During separate appearances before the City Charter Review Commission, both raised many old grievances against the Council. Galie, a Democrat, and Palillo, a Republican, have been political adversaries in the past, but they also agreed that a major problem between mayors and the City Council over the past 10 years has been City Council members with unfulfilled political ambitions.
"Really, all it was was a pattern of sour grapes, whether it was Palillo or myself or the current mayor," Galie said.
Galie said that is why the three mayors since Michael C. O'Laughlin have had problems, not because they were dictators who couldn't build consensus, as former Councilman Frank A. Soda said in his appearance before the commission. The current form of government went into effect in 1988. Mayor Irene J. Elia is the fourth mayor to serve under it.
"You have Council members who are troublemakers. They gave three mayors a hard time. Throw them out" at the polls, Palillo said.
But Sean Q. Kelly, chairman of the commission, pointed out it was Palillo and Galie whom the voters threw out after single terms.
Palillo said there are "a lot of things in the charter that should be changed because (the Council has) total control." He said the provisions leave the mayor "a victim of the Council trying to micromanage this city."
Both Galie and Palillo said the mayor should have more authority to deviate from the budget the Council adopts by being able to transfer money during the fiscal year.
Both ex-mayors also said they favor electing Council members by a combination of district and at-large seats instead of all at-large, as is the current practice.
The commission will hold a forum in which members of the public may comment at 6 p.m. Oct. 24 in the John A. Duke Senior Citizen Center, 1201 Hyde Park Blvd.