16 proposed Aurora charter review changes considered

by MIKE LESKO | REPORTER Published:

Aurora -- Sixteen proposed charter review changes are being considered by City Council, and after they are approved by Council, they will head to the November election ballot.

The Charter Review Commission meets every five years to review the charter and make any changes it deems necessary and appropriate, according to Law Director Dean DePiero.

"The charter of a municipality serves as its constitution," DePiero said. "It lays out how the local government is organized and how it should function procedurally.

"The charter provisions are the starting point, and they are supplemented by Council legislation that is generally more detailed," he said. "A charter review commission makes changes to tighten up city operations or adjust to issues that arise over time."

DePiero praised members of the charter review commission for their time and effort. They are Dr. Larry Oswick, Jane Adams, William Keckan, Charisse Louis, Dale Moravec, Nancy Schnell, Liz Sutter, Mary Thomas and Richard Vlasak.

"This commission put a lot of time into their deliberations and came up with some very thoughtful amendments to be considered," he said. "They should be commended for their hard work."

The 16 proposed charter review amendments are:

• Council vacancies. Amendment would eliminate the requirement for a special election when a vacancy occurs. If a City Council vacancy occurs before the expiration of two years of that Council member's term, a successor would be elected at the next regular municipal general election instead of at a special election.

• Legislative procedure. Amendment would add the city website as a required location for posting of documents required to be published by Ohio law. It further requires legislation that is passed as an emergency measure to be posted for 15 days after passage by City Council.

• Annual appropriations. Amendment would change the date Council adopts its annual appropriations ordinance from Feb. 15 to Feb. 28.

• Boards and commissions. Amendment would add language to encourage collaboration between mayor and Council to establish, approve, abolish or combine departments, divisions, boards and commissions. The mayor now makes those decisions with Council approval.

• President of Council. Amendment would remove language "for any cause, including absence or inaccessibility or disability" as it relates to the president of Council being acting mayor during the period when the mayor is unable to perform his/her duties.

• Appointment and removal of department directors and division heads. Amendment would add language to allow the mayor to appoint interim department directors or division heads for up to 90 days without the requirement for Council confirmation.

• Mayoral vacancies. The amendment would eliminate the requirement for a special election when a vacancy occurs. If the office of the mayor becomes vacant before the expiration of two years of that term, a successor would be elected at the next regular municipal general election instead of at a special election.

• Mayor elect. The amendment would allow the mayor to appoint department and/or division heads whose terms are effective upon the mayor taking office and adds language clarifying that division heads are employees whose terms may not be renewed.

• Contracts and purchasing. The amendment would authorize the mayor or designee to make purchases and enter into contracts on behalf of the city involving expenditures of not more than $25,000. It also increases the threshold of formal bid requirements from $10,000 to $25,000.

• Director duties. The amendment adds language clarifying that the law director is the legal adviser for the mayor as well as for City Council.

• Division of planning, zoning and building. The amendment would add two new sections. One states that the director will be the head of the division. The other details the organization and overall responsibilities of the planning, zoning and building division.

• Organization. The amendment would add language changing the clerk of the planning commission from being the clerk or deputy clerk of Council to being appointed by the mayor.

• Mandatory referral to planning commission. The amendment would change the requirement of the vote needed by Council to alter a recommendation from the planning commission from "more than two-thirds" vote to a "two-thirds vote."

• Master plan contents. The amendment would add language that the master plan will contain measures to promote connectivity including sidewalks, crosswalks, trails and bike lanes.

• Master plan review by City Council. The amendment would change the review period by Council of the master plan review recommendations from the planning commission from three months to four months.

• Recall. The amendment would remove the entire last paragraph, which is duplicate language.

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4187

Facebook: facebook.com/mike.lesko.378

Twitter: Mike Lesko@MikeLesko_RPC

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