Frank Gerlach, former city manager and mayor of Portsmouth
I don't think there's anything wrong with the city manager-council form of city government for some cities, but Portsmouth never has been and is not likely ever to be one of those cities. Nobody knows that better than Frank Gerlach who has served as both city manager and mayor. As Mark Shaffer wrote in the Scioto Voice (18 July 2001), Gerlach believes reverting to a city manager would be a step backward. "I would say the city needs a mayor rather than a city manager," Gerlach concluded.
That is not to say, and Gerlach is not saying, that the current mayor-council system is satisfactory. Far from it. That system needs to change, but reverting to the city manager system would only make things worse.
In case you have not read Mark Shaffer's Scioto Voice story, I am reproducing it here. Like Jeff Barron and Mike Deaterla, Shaffer used to report for the Portsmouth Daily Times before that newspaper stopped making even a pretense at providing balanced news coverage about the city.