GREEN: Fourteen charter amendment proposals could remain in limbo until Council’s Aug. 27 regular meeting following a nearly three-hour public hearing on the suggested changes Tuesday night.

The recommendations by the five-member Charter Review Commission must be filed with the Summit County Board of Elections by Sept. 6 to appear on Green ballots Nov. 5.

Council won’t meet July 23 because of its summer vacation, meaning the city can meet the elections deadline by taking action either Aug. 13 or 27.

The recommendations are the result of 13 public meetings totaling 22 hours by the commission between late January and June 11. The charter requires that a review commission meet every seven years.

Councilman Rocco Yeargin, chairman of Council's Charter Amendment Implementation Committee, said the commission’s meeting hours don’t include the amount of time individual commission members spent researching, talking with outside legal counsel and writing and rewriting provisions, particularly the parts of the charter that are affected by voters' approval in November of a charter change to allow voters to elect rather than have officials appoint a law director.

The law director issue passed by only 26 votes following a Dec. 4 official recount.

Commission members are Chairwoman Susan Allen, Vice Chair Vivianne Duffrin, Ted Mallo, C.J. Meager and Sherry Neubert.

After Neubert and Duffrin explained each of the 14 proposals, council members and residents spoke for and against the changes, which will be sent to the elections board by council unless six of the seven members vote to reject an item.

Many of the comments centered on amendments pertaining to the law director issue.

Attorney David Mucklow said the proposed qualifications for law director are “very restrictive.” Several speakers, including Councilman Matt Shaugnessy,  agreed with him.

The changes would require a candidate to be a resident of Green for at least two years immediately prior to the election or appointment, be a licensed Ohio attorney and have a minimum of five years’ experience in municipal and/or other governmental law.

He said the change is too narrow and could eliminate future candidates. However, commission members said their efforts expanded rather than narrowed the issue.

Without naming them, Mucklow also charged that two of the commission members publicly opposed the law director issue before the election and shouldn’t have been appointed to the charter review commission.

Other proposed changes deal with the residency and powers of the mayor; council terms, vacancies and qualifications; income taxes; charter amendment language and the removal of city officials from office.

Councilman Justin Speight suggested leaving some of the proposals for more study and possible action in 2020 or later.

After the meeting, Council President Bob Young said he feels the voters will have their say at the ballot box on each of the proposals.

 

 

George W. Davis can be reached at: mediaman@sssnet.com