By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport City Council is considering lengthening the terms of its council president pro-tem and vice president pro tem from one year to two years starting in 2018.
Currently Shawn Cleary serves as council president pro tem and Ed Dildine is council vice president pro tem.
Cleary said making the change will improve continuity.
“The people who have served as council president pro tem have noticed that, once you get in the position and take on the responsibilities of the job, a year goes by so fast just when you are getting comfortable with the position,” said Cleary. “Also, with this change, he or she can work with the mayor for a longer period of time.”
According to Groveport Law Director Kevin Shannon, council can make the change by amending its Rules of Council. He said the proposed change does not require an amendment to the Groveport City Charter because there is no reference to the president pro tem and vice president pro tem’s length of terms in the charter. He said the Rules of Council apply to how council runs its meetings, organizes, and governs itself. These rules can be revised every two years in even numbered years.
“There’s nothing specifically mentioned about the length of the council president pro tem and vice president pro tem terms in the charter,” said Shannon.
Shannon said Groveport is different than many other area cities in how it names its council president.
“In a lot of other cities the voters directly elect the council president, it’s an elected position,” said Shannon. “In Groveport, council elects one of its members to the position. Historically in Groveport, it’s been a courtesy of council to have someone serve as president pro tem for two years. They have just been elected consecutively a year at a time by council vote.”
According to the Groveport City Charter, the mayor serves as president of council. Though the mayor is not a council member, he can introduce legislation and vote on matters when there is a tie vote of council. The council president pro tem presides over council’s monthly committee of the whole meeting, but the position’s primary duty under the city charter is to serve as acting mayor in the event of the absence or disability of the mayor or unfilled vacancy of the office of mayor. The council president pro tem can be removed from the position by a majority vote of council at any time.
Also, a rule that gives council the power to call for independent audits of the city’s finances is being considered for deletion from the Rules of Council because it is a duplication of a power already covered in the city charter.
“Council doesn’t feel the need to restate under the Rules of Council powers that it already has under the city charter,” said Shannon.
Council will vote on the proposed changes at a future meeting.