Here's all the changes recommended by the Tallmadge Charter Review Commission

Krista S. Kano
Akron Beacon Journal

Tallmadge's Charter Review Commission met for the final time and will soon be submitting a final report to City Council for review. 

The commission, which reconvenes every 10 years, has been meeting since January and is now recommending a number of changes.

All changes are only recommendations at this point, and must go through a number of steps before going into effect.

First, the final report including all recommendations must be presented to City Council for their review and have three public hearings. The first presentation is expected at the April 22 regular meeting. 

If council approves the recommendations, the proposed ballot language would have to be sent to the board of elections by Aug. 4, the deadline for the Nov. 2 election. 

If approved by voters, those changes would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022. 

The commission is currently recommending eight ballot issues to address the suggested changes, but the board of elections may condense some of them:

Temporary mayoral vacancies: Currently the charter states that when the mayor is "temporarily absent from the city," the president of council will act as mayor. However, given that technology now allows the mayor to work remotely, the commission is recommending that language be removed from the charter so that the council president only performs mayoral duties if the mayor is "temporarily unable for any reason." The same would apply if council president was unavailable and the vice president had to act as mayor. 

More:Charter Review Commission addresses vacancies

Permanent vacancies of the mayor, director of finance and director of law: In Tallmadge, the mayor, the director of finance and the director of law are independently elected officials. State law lays out how to fill permanent vacancies if those officials are from a major political party, but there was no guidance on how to fill a spot for an Independent. The commission recommends that the replacement be chosen by the committee listed on the original candidate's nominating petition, similar to how affiliated candidate positions are chosen by their local republican or democratic precinct. 

More:Tallmadge Charter Commission reviews vacancies, qualifications

Boards and commissions alternate members: In order to streamline applicants asking for approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Heritage Commission, Tallmadge voters will be asked to allow the mayor to appoint alternate members. Each body has five members, and so if one or more member is absent or if a conflict of interest precludes a member from voting, applicants may have to receive unanimous support from all present members or else return for the following meeting.

In a separate ballot issue, the commission is also recommending that the charter specify that the alternate may only vote in the absence of a member of if a member has a conflict of interest. 

More:Tallmadge Charter Review Commission considers board alternates, changes to Heritage Commission

Changes to the Heritage Commission: The commission is recommending three ballot issues related to the Heritage Commission, which currently reviews buildings in the Design Control District around Tallmadge Circle and any designated historical structures. First, they recommend that the commission's name be changed to the "Architectural Review Board." Second, they recommend that up to two non-residents may serve on the body, which will give the mayor more flexibility to appoint members who are also required to meet certain training, education and experience criteria. Finally, they recommend that board have approval authority over any overlay districts in the city, not just the design control district. 

Future of the Charter Review Commission: The charter currently states that the mayor will appoint a new charter review commission in November 2020, and previous commissions have preserved the future of the commission by adding 10 years to the date. This commission recommends changing the language to read that the next commission will be appointed in "2030 and every ten years thereafter," so that future commissions do not need to recommend the same amendment. 

More:Tallmadge Charter Review looks at future of commission

Reporter Krista S. Kano can be reached at 330-541-9416, or on Twitter @kristaKanoABJ.