The Westerville Charter Review Commission will send recommendations to council for seven changes to the city's charter before council's April 13 work session.

The Westerville Charter Review Commission will send recommendations to council for seven changes to the city's charter before council's April 13 work session.

The commission finalized its recommendations March 29. A charter review commission is put together by council once every decade to review the city's charter for potential changes.

The 2010 commission is recommending that council consider changing the charter to:

Prohibit a city employee from serving on city council.

Create gender-neutral language throughout the charter.

Directly explain the city's council-manager government.

Clarify that a council member can be a notary or serve in the National Guard.

Delete transitional language in two sections.

Revise the conflict of interest section to incorporate state law.

Remove the city's two-month cap on severance pay for the city manager.

The commission is undecided on whether to expand exemptions to Ohio's Freedom of Information Act to allow council to meet in executive session for the purpose of discussing economic development and on whether to state that Westerville will publish public ordinances on the city's Web site.

The commission has met weekly since Feb. 1 to review the city charter line by line, draw comparisons with other cities' charters and talk to the city manager about potential changes.

The commission decided against asking for revisions that would have removed the residency requirement for the city manager and assistant city manager; provided for the removal of members of boards and commissions; authorized administrative code to state the organization of city's government; required two readings of ordinances before council instead of three; and prohibited employees from contributing to candidates for city council.

The charter review commission will present its recommendations formally to council at the April 13 work session. From there, city law director Bill Bailey said he expects council will provide the commission with a directive on which proposed changes to pursue. The charter commission will then work on how to put the changes together to put before Westerville voters in November and return to council with that plan in early June to be approved by council before it begins its summer break in July.

During the last charter review in 2000, the charter review commission recommended term limits for council. It also proposed eliminating the position of director of public safety, changing the conflict of interest section and changing gender nouns in the charter. However, city council did not move to put those recommendations before voters and no changes were made to the charter.

During the review commission's meeting Monday, members discussed whether their recommended changes were worth the time and effort required to seek a citywide vote.

Commission members agreed that the city is overdue in making its charter language gender neutral and said other recommended changes were warranted if the city already decides to put changes on the ballot.