Marysville News

Nov. 5 election

Marysville voters will decide three charter amendments

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Marysville residents will vote on three proposed changes to the city charter Nov. 5.

One would change the city's form of government form the mayor-director-council model to that of council-manager.

The second would eliminate term limits for Marysville Planning Commission members.

The third would bring the city into compliance with changes already made at the state and federal level regarding when city council can meet and rule on certain items.

Mayor John Gore and Ed Pleasant, chairman of the charter review committee, have been making their way around town, talking to different groups about the proposals.

Marysville's current charter calls for the mayor to be elected by popular vote for a four-year term. As the city's chief executive officer, the mayor supervises executive departments and divisions in Marysville. The mayor also serves as the official and ceremonial head of the municipal government "for all applicable purposes and processes."

The proposed charter amendment would give city council the job of selecting one of its members to serve a one-year term as mayor. That person would serve as council president and perform ceremonial duties for the city. Once the mayor is elected, council would then elect a vice mayor, who would serve as president pro-tempore of council.

The charter amendment proposes changing the title of director of administration to city manager and requires the person in that post to have executive and administrative experience.

The city manager would serve as Marysville's chief executive officer.

Pleasant said the charter review board went through an exhaustive process in reviewing the city charter.

"We met twice a month till May, any place from an hour and a half to two hours every meeting," he said. "We looked at the whole charter. Then we went back through it a second time and decided what we wanted to do.

"That's when it came up that it might be a good time to look at the charter, changing mayor to city manager."

The committee sought advice from the Mayors Association of Ohio and the Ohio City/County Managers Association, then invited representatives from the city of Delaware to talk about the council-manager form of government and representatives from Pickerington to speak about the mayor-council-city manager form.

"And, of course, we knew mayor-administrator because that's what we are now," Pleasant said.

The current form of government was adopted in 1983.

Gore and Pleasant both said they think it is time for Marysville to step in a new direction.

"In 1983, there were as many Ohio cities that had the mayor form as there were city managers. In 2013, about 80 percent of Ohio's cities are city manager," Pleasant said. "With us being at 22,000 people at this time, we felt that having the council be the main governing body and it selecting a person experienced in ... business finance was more important than having a part-time mayor."

* The second charter amendment, which would remove term limits for planning commission members, would bring "continuity," Pleasant said.

He said the planning commission is "a very intricate part of our government planning and very, very powerful. They're setting policy on growth in the city."

He said the charter committee members thought limiting the terms becomes a negative when someone on the planning commission is capable and experienced but has to be removed because of term limits.

"That does not give us very good continuity," Pleasant said. "It was on the charter review four years ago and it went down. The committee felt that was still something that needs reviewed."

* The third charter amendment, if approved, would bring Marysville into compliance with changes already made at the state and federal level regarding when city council could meet and rule on certain items.

Gore said when the city's charter was written in the early 1980s, anyone wishing to put something on the ballot had to submit information to the board of elections 75 days prior to the election. State law has changed that to 90 days.

The proposal to change the city's form of government is a perfect example of why the third charter amendment is needed, he said.

"That state law change would not have allowed the council to meet in a timely manner for the amendment issue and to submit the proposal to the board of elections," he said.

In this instance, the deadline was Aug. 7 and the regular council meeting was Aug. 8, so council had to have a special meeting Aug. 1 to hear the proposal.

"It doesn't give council any other authority other than to make the changes that have already been made at the state and federal level," Gore said.

"Council should have the opportunity to change those dates so they don't have to come back on a special meeting," Pleasant said. "It brings us into a little more compliance with others and strengthens our leadership and puts accountability where accountability needs to be, and that's with council."

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