By Jennifer Vigil
Staff Writer

April 28, 2005

Councilman Scott Peters was elected chairman yesterday of the committee that will guide the City Council's transition to a strong-mayor government.

The new system, which voters approved in November, must be in place by Jan. 1. It creates executive and legislative branches of city government and limits the powers of the city manager.

The mayor will not be a part of the nine-member City Council and will manage the city's budget and personnel, tasks currently performed by the city manager. The council will be led by a presiding officer and have its own budget and legislative analysts.

The committee Peters is leading includes everyone on the current council except for Mayor Dick Murphy.

The committee scheduled the meetings to plan the transition and set the agendas for the first three sessions. On May 19, members will discuss the budget and legislative analysts' positions; on May 26, the presiding officer position and council committees; and on June 2, constituent services. The meetings will continue through July.

"It's not just about policy," Councilman Tony Young said. "It's also about how we do business."

Some council members had scheduling conflicts with the transition committee meetings, but Peters said the issues would be reviewed at the regular Monday or Tuesday council meetings.