After its members were appointed July 24, the Hilliard Charter Review Commission will begin the process of reviewing the city charter before the end of August.

Among the issues commission members are expected to tackle is whether term limits for Hilliard City Council members should be reinstituted, if local elections should be nonpartisan, whether council members should be elected by wards and, perhaps most notably, if the city should switch from a strong mayor to a city-manager model of government.

The recommendations of the commission are subject to City Council's final review and ultimately would be accepted or rejected via vote by residents.

The 11-member commission includes Mayor Don Schonhardt, City Councilman Al Iosue and residents Scott Brown, John Bryner, Alex Cofield, Melinda Dennis, Michael Evans, Kurt Gearhiser, Tabi McCluskey, Brian Michael and Ronald Whiteside. The two alternates are Mel Sims and Angie Rader.

Council President Nathan Painter said the "diverse group" should work well together.

Schonhardt said July 25 he would serve on the commission rather than appoint a designee in his stead. The mayor also served on the most recent charter-review commission convened in 2007. Iosue will be City Council's representative.

City Council named the nine residents and two alternates to the commission during a special session July 24.

Nineteen residents had expressed interest in serving on the commission.

City Council's choices were not all unanimous, and council members rejected one appointment: Paul Lambert, a Hilliard school board member.

Tom Baker and Les Carrier voted in favor of Lambert's selection but the other five council members voted against it.

Lambert's membership on the commission would constitute "a conflict of interest," council Vice President Kelly McGivern said.

McGivern said July 25 that Lambert's oath of office included acting in the best interest of the school district, and that oath could be challenged during discussions of Hilliard's charter. Lambert and other candidates were present at the meeting but none spoke.

"It was a confusing comment," Lambert said July 25 about McGivern's viewpoint. "We all serve one community. This notion of there being a conflict is confusing and disappointing to me."

Three appointments were not unanimous: Bryner was appointed 5-2, and the commission's two alternates, Sims and Rader, were appointed 4-3 and 5-2, respectively. Sims is a property owner in Old Hilliard and Rader is a government teacher at Davidson High School.

The alternates will participate in discussions but will not vote. If any of the nine residents must step down from the commission, one of the alternates then would become a voting member.

According to the legislation that authorized the creation of the commission, its members must convene within 30 days of appointment.

Within 12 months of that meeting, the commission must submit its recommendations, if any, to City Council members for their consideration.

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