A review of the city of Bexley's charter that Bexley City Council had discussed beginning this year is now scheduled for 2019, with any recommendations to be put before voters in 2021.
The city's existing charter states council may form a commission to review the charter every 10 years, and the last charter review began in 2009, according to Resolution 11-18, which council approved in a 6-1 vote Aug. 28. Council President Lori Ann Feibel proposed delaying the formation of a charter review commission from this fall to June 2019 because of the time necessary to complete a comprehensive review.
Council approved Feibel's amendments, which authorize Mayor Ben Kessler to begin advertising for commission members in June 2019 and make recommendations to council by July 2019. The commission will begin work in fall 2019 and submit recommendations to council by February 2021, to appear on the November 2021 ballot.
"The proposed dates that I have suggested mirror the 2009 November start (of the previous charter review) and fulfill our 10-year expectation," Feibel said. "Instead of rushing the process or really drawing the process out, I'm just proposing we start just a little bit later."
Delaying the charter commission's start also gives the city more time to plan for attorney's fees associated with legal research, city attorney Marc Fishel said.
During the last charter review in 2009, "there were significant attorney's fees expended to outside counsel in coming to these meetings," he said.
Tim Madison, chairman of council's Zoning, Development and Judiciary Committee, had introduced Resolution 11-18 but cast the sole dissenting vote against the legislation.
He said he opposes delaying the charter review because he has a list of issues that should be addressed as soon as possible.
He said one of the issues he thought should have been addressed was the code of ethics and conduct that council adopted Aug. 28. He said it's possible some current council members may not be re-elected in 2020 and would therefore be unable to vote on the charter review commission's recommendations in 2021.
"Some of us may not be on council when the committee comes back for the determinations," he said. "I still think it should be done sooner rather than later."
In order to meet the timeline initially set out in Resolution 11-18, the committee would have to be formed by October of this year, begin work at the beginning of 2019 and turn in recommendations to council by the end of May in order to be certified in August 2019 for that year's November ballot, city auditor Bill Harvey said.
"The last time, it took over a year to do this," Harvey said of the 2009 charter review. "Doing it in six months just seems like a very compressed amount of time."
Councilman Steve Keyes said he served on the last charter review committee and it "was an extremely long and drawn-out process, a lot of people involved.
"I would be very concerned that there would be enough time to review all the issues," he said.