TWINSBURG — With the Nov. 6 general election rapidly approaching, city voters will see six charter amendments, a rezoning request and a Summit County Children Services Board replacement levy on the fall ballot.
In the early months of 2018, a charter review commission, chaired by city resident David Post, met several times to analyze the charter and recommend changes.
Councilman Sam Scaffide, who was the Council representative on the charter review panel, called the panel’s work "very professional," saying the process went very smoothly and the panelists "did a good job."
Scaffide said proposals regarding the mayor’s salary and benefits, changing the primary election date and how vacancies on boards are filled are especially important issues.
"Some suggested changes are housekeeping items, but others establish better methods of governing the city, and thus should not be taken lightly by the voters," he said.
Here is a synopsis of the charter proposals:
• Issue 31 — Shall Article III of the charter be amended to require sitting members of Council who have two years or more left in their terms to resign their seat before filing petitions to run for any other Council seat?
It also allows for Council members to be notified of special meetings by electronic mail and requires legislation to authorize expenditure of money to be read on three different days unless five members of Council vote to suspend this rule.
• Issue 32 — Shall Article IV of the charter be amended to provide for a vacancy in the office of mayor to be filled by election if more than six months remain in the term when the vacancy occurs?
The election would be held on the next primary or general election date, and any individual who becomes acting mayor as a result of a vacancy would be compensated as an elected mayor to serve part time with pro rata compensation.
It further would entitle the mayor to receive the benefits of other full-time employees, set the compensation of the mayor at 5 percent above the highest paid department head except the law director and require that the mayor’s compensation be increased only at the same percentage granted all other department heads.
• Issue 33 — Shall Section 6.02 of the charter be amended to eliminate the power of Council to fix the compensation of the mayor?
• Issue 34 — Shall Article VII of the charter be amended to require vacancies on boards and commissions that are less than full term be filled from the most recent list of applicants for a full term appointment?
It also would eliminate the requirement that the term of the finance director and law director be concurrent with that of the mayor, that appointments be made within 60 days after the mayor’s term begins and that the finance director and law director serve until a successor is appointed.
It further empowers the mayor to appoint the police and fire chiefs, and eliminates the requirement that Council approve the promotion, hiring and appointment of personnel in the police and fire divisions other than the chiefs.
* Issue 35 — Shall Section 8.01 of the charter be amended to eliminate the current prohibition on circulating nominating petitions for City Council more than 150 days before the election?
It also would reduce from two years to one year the length of time a candidate for Council must have resided in the city, and would move the primary election for mayor from the first Tuesday after the first Monday in May to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in August.
• Issue 36 — Shall Section 9.03 of the charter be amended to allow only residents of the ward to vote in a recall election of a ward Council member?
The rezoning request (Issue 30) is for a property at 9101 Ravenna Road. Rezoning from R-3 residential to C-2 commercial is being sought by John Manes for one of three adjacent parcels he owns.
If approved, it would allow two side-by-side commercial lots totaling 2.45 acres, but the third lot would remain residential.
Manes maintains that it is difficult to fit a building on just the one triangular lot, and having two commercial lots side-by-side would make it easier to erect a building.
The children services levy (Issue 8) consists of a renewal of 2.25 mills and an increase of 1 mill.
It would be for the protection and placement of abused and neglected children by the Summit County Children Services Board. It would run for six years, and cost the owner of a property valued at $100,000 about $99 per year, up from the current $64.
County officials say the increase is needed due to the opiate crisis in Summit County, as the number of children who enter custody when their parents get into trouble has drastically increased.
Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400 Ext. 4189 or firstname.lastname@example.org.