Date in History: 1929

In 1929, citizens of Fort Atkinson petitioned to change their local government from the Mayor system to a new form of government that only a few communities in the nation had then adopted – the city-manager system. In this new system, a professional manager would be hired by a five-member council to run the city.

The controversial issue led to lively, if not always well-informed, debate. Opponents brought in the mayor of Racine who condemned the city manager system, claiming that its supporters were all – and I’m quoting here – “Female Uplifters and Mental Degenerates.” Apparently no one was too worried as the referendum passed by a wide margin.

Since 1930 there have been three referendums to return to the mayoral system but the degenerates have continued to hold sway. Our current city manager -the honorable John Wilmet – is the 5th to hold that office.

This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on 04/21/2003.