Pickerington reorganizes city charter
After nearly seven months of reviewing the city’s charter line by line, a replacement charter was presented to council and the first reading of the ordinance that would place the item on the ballot was heard during the July 20 meeting.
Every 10 years the city of Pickerington must review its charter, which defines how its government should function.
In January, a seven-member Charter Review Board was appointed by council and since then has met on a monthly basis.
The board consisted of citizens as well as those who have served in Pickerington government in some capacity, Charter Review Board Chairman Ted Hackworth said.
Hackworth said those without the governmental experience acted as a sounding-board and kept the board conservative so that the changes made would be ones voters would apt to approve when it appears on the November ballot.
Most of the changes made to the charter had to do with the reorganization of the charter itself and would not change the way Pickerington’s current government is organized or the powers and duties of each branch, he said.
Some sections of the charter as well had become obsolete or unlawful due to court cases and state legislative changes made in the past 10 years, Hackworth said.
The replacement charter will now have specific articles addressing the functions and responsibilities of council, the mayor and the city manager, he said.
The current charter contains confusing and outdated language and has information about those responsibilities spread throughout several articles, he added.
In addition, the replacement charter now will have 10 articles instead of 11 due to its reorganization, he said.
The appointment of the city clerk is another change, Hackworth said.
Currently, the city clerk is appointed by the city manager. In the replacement charter, that position will now be appointed by council, he said. The city engineer who is currently appointed by council, will now also be supervised by the city manager.
Resolutions that are used for any legislation that is temporary, informal or ceremonial such as appointments will now become effective immediately in the replacement charter rather than after a 30-day waiting period, Hackworth said.
A number of other city governments operate this way, he said. In addition, when there are vacancies, having to wait 30 days for the appointment to take effect creates a vacancy for a longer than needed amount of time, he said.
The ordinance is expected to be approved during the Aug. 3 council meeting in order to meet the Aug. 4 deadline for it to appear on the November ballot.
Hackworth said the board wanted to make sure it was placed on the November ballot because members expect a higher voter turnout due to the gubernatorial election.