By Linda Dillman
Canal Winchester is re-visiting the city charter, a task undertaken every 10 years, and will place proposed changes on the ballot in November for voter consideration.
According to Canal Winchester City Councilman Will Bennett, the Charter Review Commission is made up of 11 community representatives, six of which are appointed by council, five appointed by Mayor Mike Ebert and two alternates.
Guidelines provided to council did not outline specifics as to the appointment of citizens to the commission.
“City council members each brought names forward to nominate as our representatives,” said Bennett. “I don’t specifically have insight as to why they are broken down the way they are or who made that determination. However, I personally believe that this provides good representation to the legislative and executive branches of our local government.”
Appointees serve until they complete the task of evaluating the city charter and deliver their final report to council.
The current charter, adopted by voters on Nov. 2, 2010 and effective with Canal Winchester’s official status as a city on April 29, 2011, states 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 adopt the document, which comes with a strong mayor/council plan.
Within the charter are articles establishing 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 review by the charter commission coincides with the United States Census, during which Canal Winchester became a city following the results of the 2010 data collection.
“It was important then because most of the major changes that were adopted revolved around the status of the (then) village changing to a city,” said Bennett. “There were two other significant changes as well. One gave the mayor the right to hire a city administrator, with council approval. The other dealt with how Canal Winchester handled bids for projects.”
According to Bennett, citizens presently serving on the commission—in addition to Bennett and alternates—include Victor Paini, Chairman William Ray, David Rinkes, Robert Toledo, Nancy Schirm Wright, Calvin Caswell, Heather Bolin, Roger White, Joe Wildenthaler, Jennifer Nack, Chris Chatfield, Beth Bayless and Robert D. Clark.
“They review each section of the city charter,” said Bennett. “The city law director is also present at these meetings to answer questions and help guide the conversations of things that might be considered.”
Once the Charter Review Commission has completed its process, it will forward its recommendations to council. The review commission does not determine what is put on the ballot for voters’ approval. Council reviews the commission’s recommendations and then determines what moves forward to the ballot.