Summary of City Charter Amendments
City Council Attorney Mike Piccolo sent an updated short summary describing the proposed charter amendments for the twelve charter sections contained in the eleven ballot propositions. Sections 24 and 33 are combined into one ballot proposition. It’s a good starting point to developing information for the public. Please note the summaries are not intended to suggest how a person should vote but to provide a simple concise summary of the proposed amendments.
Section 6 Qualifications for Elective Office – Amends Charter to provide that the positions of Council President and Council Members are separate positions with separate terms of office and term limits. Current language does not distinguish between Council President and Council Members in regards to term limits. This amendment will enable a person to serve two consecutive terms as a council member and than two consecutive terms as Council President. This amendment does not remove the term limitation after serving two consecutive terms. The amendment will also provide a definition of “Residency” for the purpose of qualifying to hold elective office. Residency would mean a person’s permanent address where he or she physically resides and maintains his or her abode.
Section 7 Salaries of Elected Official – Removes specific minimum salary levels for elective offices. Maintains that the Mayor’s salary would be an amount equal to the salary of the highest paid city employee, other than the City Administrator whom the Mayor appoints. The salaries of the Council President and Council Members would be set by ordinance adopted by the City Council or pursuant to state law.
Section 8.5 Recall by District – Provides that a recall election for violation of the Code of Ethics for a council member elected by district would be submitted to just the voters of the council member’s district and not city-wide. A recall election involving the Mayor or Council President would be city-wide since they are elected city-wide.
Section 9 Temporary Council Committees – Provides that the City Council may establish temporary council committees and determine the membership, qualifications, appointment process and whether the City Council would need assistance of City staff. The process would be separate from the committee appointment process established under Section 24 for more permanent committees where the members are nominated by the Mayor and confirmed by the Council.
Section 23 Mayor Pro-tem – Provides that the Council President, while serving as the Mayor Pro-tem, would not also continue to serve in his or her legislative capacity if the reason he or she is serving as Mayor Pro-tem is due to either a vacancy in the Mayor’s Office or the Mayor’s incapacity to serve. This amendment would not affect the role of the Council President serving as Mayor Pro-tem when the Mayor is temporarily absent due to travel or illness.
Section 24 Mayor Powers – Provides clarification as to the Mayor’s authority regarding appointment of the City Administrator and investigative powers involving affairs of the City.
Section 33 Mayor – Special Counsel – Remove the requirement that the Mayor receive City Council approval before appointing special legal counsel.
Section 49 – Condemnation of Land for Park Purposes – Removes the apparent mandatory language that the City Council shall condemn land for park purposes upon notice from the Park Board. The amendment provides that the City Council may decide to condemn land for park purposes.
Section 60 Council Redistricting – Provides that land annexed into the City shall be assigned to the City Council district that is most contiguous with the annexed land. When the annexed land is contiguous to two council district boundaries, the City Council may take legislative action to assign the land to a council district.
Section 72 Neighborhood Councils – Clarifies that the Office of Neighborhood Services falls under the administrative branch of the Mayor and shall report to the Mayor.
Section 90 Number of Elections – Current language prohibits more than one special election involving legislation by the citizens, including initiatives, within a six month period. State law, which dictates election dates, was amended in the past couple of years to eliminate two spring election dates leaving only February and April election dates in the spring and the primary and general elections in the fall. The proposed amendment is to repeal Section 90 and remove this restriction on elections dates.
Section 127 Plan Commission – This Charter section currently provides that the City Plan Commission shall perform such functions and have such powers as may be conferred upon it by the City Council by ordinance. The amendment would provide that the City Council may, by a majority vote, direct the Plan Commission to perform specific actions in relation to potential or pending legislative action of the City Council.