The elimination of partisan primary elections for Hilliard City Council members and mayor is among the recommendations set forth by Hilliard's charter-review commission.

City Council will make the final determination if any of the recommended amendments would be presented to voters next year.

Kurt Gearhiser, chairman of the 11-member commission that was dissolved upon completing its charge, presented the recommendations Sept. 24.

The commission approved the recommendations last month, thus meeting the one-year deadline it had to do so after convening in August 2017.

"Many of the recommendations are designed to make the city run smoother, more effectively and more economically," Gearhiser said Sept. 25.

He said he does not think Issue 33, which will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot, undermines or makes irrelevant the work of the commission for the past 12 months.

Issue 33 is a charter-amendment proposal that would change Hilliard's form of government from a strong mayor to city manager.

The charter reviewers in February opted against recommending a city-manager form of government but proponents of the city-manager model, including councilmen Les Carrier and Andy Teater, promoted successful legislation to place the issue on the November ballot.

If approved, the city-manager form of government would become effective Jan. 1, 2020.

If Issue 33 were approved, Gearhiser said, the charter would require "significant changes" but the recommendations commission members made stand apart.

"We are one of the last cities in central Ohio to have partisan elections," he said, so the recommendation stands that City Council become nonpartisan.

Another recommended amendment provides a remedy for a situation that arose early this year when City Council had six members and 3-3 deadlocks prevented the election of a president.

According to the charter, "the president of council shall hold office until the next organizational meeting and may be re-elected" but a deadlocks prevented the election or re-election of any member calling into question whether the current president could serve.

The amendment would specify a president could continue serving "until a majority of council members elect or re-elect a president" and allows for the continuation of organizational meetings.

Another amendment would reduce the number of required readings of legislation from three to two.

"We found many issues require quicker action (and) reducing the number of readings (to two) also will reduce the need for emergency legislation," Gearhiser said.

City Council will determine a process for reviewing the charter reviewers' recommendations.

Gearhiser said the commission made more than 30 recommended amendments, though he wasn't certain of the total. ThisWeek counted amendments to 26 sections of the charter, including a section to be added. In some instances, more than one amendment appeared in a section.

Council members can accept any, all or none of the recommendations, according to law director Tracy Bradford, but they eventually would need to act on the proposed ordinance to place charter amendments on the ballot next year, either in May, November or in a special election. That ordinance was referred Sept. 24 to the public-safety and legal-affairs committee for consideration.

The committee is not scheduled to meet until Nov. 26, but a meeting could be set in advance of the next scheduled meeting Oct. 22, according to council clerk Lynne Fasone.

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