Unit5 project

Governing a Private Island
(Professors name)
Having been left to oversee the running of a private island, I would have to make decisions on
how it will be governed and integrated into the existing state government. The island is home to
several communities, therefore it cannot be governed like private property, that is, everything
depending on my whim. Cooperation from these communities is essential in making the island a
successful government entity and there is no better way to ensure this than having a
representative government. However, the representative government would not be as is the case
in other local governments, in that, I would maintain the topmost leadership of the island so as to
continue the legacy of the former owner of the island. Allowing political forces to determine the
fate of the island through a fully democratic government may steer away from the course set by
the owner as leaders with different ideologies from his take over and impose their new ideologies
as law.
Structure and Form of the Government
To establish a successful government, it is important to first define its structure. Of the local
government structures adopted in most US territories, the township is the most appropriate for
the island. Being a territory with several communities, different services ranging from judicial,
law enforcement, tax administration, infrastructure development and safety will be necessary.
Allowing the decisions to be made by all citizens would require long discussions which might
end up not resolving any issue or allowing progress to be made (Dye, MacNamus, 2012, p. 345).
Therefore, having a township governed by an elected council will not only allow representation
but also efficient government. This is in tandem with the provisions of most state constitutions,
which makes the structure recognizable by the state government and therefore receive all the
necessary support to run.
Unlike conventional townships, the island is private property but the residents must not be
treated as such. The form of government must therefore protect the residents while at the same
time not infringing on the liberties of the owners/trustees of the island. The owners on the other
hand cannot set their own rules which override the constitution in which they are located. A
compromise has to be established between managing the island as private property and leaving it
to political forces. I would implement this as a hybrid Council-Manager form of government.
Having been given the authority to govern the island, I would be the township manager while the
residents will have the power to vote representatives in the council who will also serve different
functions within the local government. the elections will be non-partisan to prevent state and
national party politics from affecting the township and maintain the focus of local leaders on
local issues for progressive development (Dye, MacNamus, 2012, p. 354). The various council
and executive positions, their corresponding roles and departments are discussed below.
The Township Executive/Administrator
As the executive of the township, I would not be succeeded through election but rather through
appointment. This is because of, as mentioned earlier, I would need to protect the legacy of the
islands owner. While the council will have a say in the government, I would maintain veto
powers and have to approve any change in the township laws. Security of tenure will facilitate
long-term development of the island while exclusion of the executive position from electoral
process will ensure succession by people loyal to the owner and who share in his ideologies, thus
the long-term goals will be pursued through generations of leaders. Veto powers will help the
executive in protecting the legacy and provide guidance to the council in terms of the direction
they should take in their decision-making and leadership roles. The holder of this role will also
be accountable to the people, being tasked with administration of all township laws and fiscal
planning. However, the executive will also have to justify his/her decisions to the council and
seek their approval before implementing them, for example the township budget (Dye,
MacNamus, 2012, p. 349). I will be in charge of allocating land for courts, hospitals, roads, and
other requirements as well as have the final say in determining the kinds of businesses and
facilities which will be established in the township (Dye, MacNamus, 2012, p. 342-343).
The Mayor
A mayor will be elected by the residents as will be the council members. While the township
manager/executive will maintain oversight, the mayor will chair the council and help build
consensus in it. He will have equal voting rights as all council members but will serve the role of
harmonizing all the functions and a link between the elected council and the appointed township
manager. Given the differences in tenure, functions and priorities of these two arms, there is
bound to be differences and the mayor will act as the mediator, attempting to reach a
compromise between the manager’s private property interests and the council’s democratic and
political interests. This would effectively make the government a hybrid manager-mayor form of
government (Dye, MacNamus, 2012, p. 350).
The Sheriff, Law enforcement and Correction System
A sheriff will be elected by the residents to oversee law enforcement and maintain a correctional
facility in the island. His first duty will be to advice the administrator on recommendations for
the structure and facilities of law enforcement and correction. He will liaise with the state
government to integrate the island into the law enforcement and jail systems of the state since the
island is a location within the state. Also, he will be responsible for appointment to fill the
positions in his department but some of the appointments will be subject to approval by the
council and may be vetoed by the administrator (Dye, MacNamus, 2012, p. 344).
Township Attorney and the Judicial System
A court will be established to handle judicial matters in the island with the township attorney
(equivalent of county attorney) responsible for criminal investigation and prosecution of
violators. State laws will be applied and any matters that cannot be resolved by this court will be
referred to the state judiciary. The attorney will advise the administrator on appointments to the
court, and which will be vetted by the council.
Township Clerk
The holder of this office will be responsible for keeping records of all legal documents including
deeds, marriages, divorce, birth, death, mortgages and election results.
Tax Assessor and collector
A tax assessor will be elected by the people to assess the value of property and determine the
amount of taxes that should be paid by business owners in the island. Being a private island,
business owners will have leased land and other property from the owner, therefore the tax
assessor will also be responsible for evaluating fees payable to the owners account by the
businesses in addition to taxes. Taxation will be consistent with state laws and remission of the
same will be taken with great importance to ensure the island remains a territory supported by
state policies and programs. The holder of the office will ensure taxes are collected as per the
assessment and remissions to the state and national governments are done accordingly.
The treasurer will be an appointed member of the council responsible for planning of funding of
township projects, dispersing funds for recurrent expenditure and reporting these tom the
council. He will maintain records of all income and expenditure. His decisions may be altered by
the council or vetoed by the township administrator, requiring a revision and implementation of
their recommendations.
The Auditor
Also and elected council member, the auditor will maintain financial records and authorize
payment of the townships obligations. He will advise the administrator on efficient use of funds
and sit in the council meetings to vote on all policy decisions but his main interests will be in
All the council members will have equal votes, including the mayor, with the mayor
representing the township in state and higher jurisdictional matters. They will all have power to
appoint people working under them but their appointments may be overruled by the other council
members. Appointments by the administrator will also be subject to council scrutiny. All the
elected leaders will be professionals in the field covered by the departments which they will head
to ensure maximum efficiency (Dye, MacNamus, 2012, p. 342-344).
Dye, T. R., & MacManus, S. A. (2012). Politics in states and communities (14th ed.). Upper
Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

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