By Linda Dillman
After a slow start due to the outbreak of COVID-19, Canal Winchester’s City Charter Review Commission is kicking to high gear and holding regular meetings as part of the process to revisit the city charter every 10 years.
Timed to coincide with the census, the 11-member and two alternate commission meets during the same year the U.S. Census is held and is comprised of six people appointed by city council and five appointed by the mayor. Appointees serve until they complete the task of evaluating the city charter and deliver their final report to council.
Commission members review charter rules and procedures regarding corporate power; council powers; legislative procedures; the publication of ordinances and resolutions; administrative departments; boards and commissions; finance, taxation and debt; referendums and recalls; and ethics, campaign financing and the process to remove officials.
The current charter was adopted by voters on Nov. 2, 2010. It became effective with Canal Winchester’s official status as a city on April 29, 2011.
According to the present document, in order to “have the benefits of municipal home rule and exercise all of the powers of local self-government conferred under the Constitution and Statutes of the State of Ohio,” and “to preserve the traditional and historic values of the community,” citizens vote on proposed changes to the charter.
Once the Charter Review Commission completes its process, their recommendations are forwarded to council for action. The commission does not determine what is put on the ballot. Council reviews the commission’s recommendations and then determines what moves forward to the ballot.
In the past, changes proposed by the commission and approved by council usually appeared on the general election ballot in the same year the commission was convened. However, the commission is only required to complete their work by the end of the year in which they are convened.
While there was not enough time to make the Nov. 3 ballot this year, any proposed changes approved by council are expected to appear on the primary ballot in 2021.
Current commission members include Michael Stobart, chairman; Marilyn Rush‐Ekelberry , vice-chairman; Jim Bohnlein, Charles Carpenter, Pat DeWitt, Steve Donahue, Nick Franklin, Amy Giesecke, Jackie Marion, Liana Obert, Ryan Rose and alternate Rick Deeds.
The next Charter Review Commission meeting is Oct. 14. Due to COVID‐19, until further notice, commission meetings are not open to the public. Individuals interested in addressing the commission are asked to submit written comments. Comments received by 3 p.m. the day of the meeting will be acknowledged at that evening’s meeting. Comments can be submitted using the form available on the city’s website.