Only In America . . . TM

Copyright © 2002 Frank G. Van Atta. All rights reserved.


The new mayor of Farmington, Rhode Island, is Democrat Bruce Williams.

The new mayor of Farmington, Rhode Island, is Republican Leroy Adams.

No, you didn't read wrong--and we didn't make a mistake. The little town of Farmington now has TWO people serving as mayor at the same time.

"Over the years we've had Republican mayors and we've had Democratic mayors," Bill Bradley, City Council Chairman, said. "The problem is that none of them have ever been able to make everyone in the town happy. When we had a Republican mayor the Democrats complained; when we had a Democratic mayor then the Republicans complained. The result was that at any given point in time about half of the folks in town were unhappy about what the mayor was doing."

This isn't an unusual problem--the same situation probably applies to the majority of towns in America today. The difference is that Farmington decided to do something about it.

And what they did was create a two-party position.

The way it works is that both a Republican and a Democrat are elected "semi-mayor," they both share the same office, and both get the same pay. But, the policies instituted by the Republican mayor apply only to the registered Republicans in the town, and those policies made by the Democratic mayor apply only to the registered Democrats. And nobody is allowed to change their political affiliation after the election.

This means that both Democrats and Republicans get exactly what they voted for, and everyone is happy.

So, when Bruce Williams raises property taxes (as he promised he would) only Democratic property owners will be affected. Of course that also means that the new computer equipment to be purchased for the high school with the money can only be used by children of Democratic parents--unless the children are 18 years old, then it will depend on their party affiliation.

And when Leroy Adams provides tax breaks for local businesses that move into the inner city, it will only apply to business owned by Republicans. Also, any jobs that are created by those same businesses can only be filled by Republicans.

Both Adams and Williams supported a surcharge on city water bills to raise money for improving the city parks. In this case the surcharge will apply to all citizens (Independents, Libertarians, and the like are not recognized political parties in Farmington yet), and the park will be open for use by all.

"This is the third time that we have elected a mayor using this system," Bradley said, "and so far it has been well received by everyone in town."

In fact, it has been so successful that the state of Rhode Island is considering a similar policy for the Governor's office as well as both houses of the legislature.

And many people feel that it is only a matter of time until the office of President of the United States follows suit. The only problem then will be where each President sleeps in the White House.

Copyright © 2002 Frank G. Van Atta. All rights reserved.