German Village Gazette

Commission to give fresh review to city charter

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Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman and city council have convened a Charter Review Commission to take a fresh look at the 100-year-old charter document.

The five-member, bipartisan group will meet over the next several months to consider possible specific amendment language; suggestions to improve, clarify or modernize the charter; or recommendations to further research sections that require additional consideration or deliberation.

The process will be open to the public. Any recommended change would have to be approved by Columbus voters.

Council spokesman John Ivanic said it's the first time in more than decade the charter has been given a serious review.

In 2010, the commission took a more focused look at the issue of closed-door meetings. It recommended that council be given the authority to meet in closed-door sessions under certain circumstances, an issue that was affirmed by voters that year.

Ivanic said this time, the commission will take a much broader look at the charter with no specific goal in mind.

"Now is a good time to do something like this," he said. "It's good government to periodically examine the charter, the constitution of the city, and take a look at what we're doing."

The Charter Review Commission will be co-chaired by state Rep. Michael F. Curtin (D-Marble Cliff) and Columbus attorney Marchelle E. Moore, vice president of legal and government affairs and general counsel for the Central Ohio Transit Authority.

The commission also includes Jeff Cabot, executive director of Kids Voting Central Ohio; Dawn Tyler Lee, senior vice president of Community Impact for United Way of Central Ohio; and Columbus City Auditor Hugh J. Dorrian.

Dan Williamson, Coleman's spokesman, said the mayor is impressed by the talent on the commission.

"These are people with a strong sense of history and strong sense of wanting to move Columbus forward," he said.

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