With so many measures on the Nov. 6 ballot in Grandview Heights, Issue 30 could be overlooked -- especially since none of the proposed charter amendments would result in major changes to the document that describes how the city's government works.
But the process of reviewing the charter and seeking voter approval of the proposed amendment isn't a minor matter, said charter review commission Chairwoman Rebekah Hatzifotinos.
"The charter is in essence our city's constitution, and it's a good idea to revisit it every 10 years, even if it doesn't result in any big changes," she said. "This is the document that tells you how the city operates."
Most of the proposed changes only simplify, clarify or modernize the language in the charter, Hatzifotinos said.
"There are some minor typos we found, and we recommended reordering one passage to place it in a section of the charter that makes more sense," she said.
"What the charter review commission recommended mostly were just tweaks to the document," Grandview Heights City Council President Greta Kearns said. "I think that's a reflection that our charter and form of government in Grandview is working really well."
The nine-person commission reviewed each section of the charter, which was adopted in 1931 and last updated in 2008.
The group spent time discussing and considering the city's strong-mayor form of government and whether dividing the city into wards or increasing the number of council seats should be explored, Hatzifotinos said.
Many central Ohio suburbs, including Upper Arlington, Worthington and Dublin, have an appointed city manager and weak-mayor government. Hilliard will vote Nov. 6 on whether to make the transition to a weak-mayor system.
Some other suburbs, such as Whitehall and Delaware, also use wards that divide up representation among council members.
In the end, the commission agreed the basic framework of the city's government remains viable, she said.
The charter specifies that a commission must be formed every 10 years to review the document and make any suggested recommendations. Revisions to the charter must be approved by voters.
"It's an all-or-nothing vote," Hatzifotinos said. "If the voters did not approve the ballot measure, the charter would stay the same."
One recommended amendment would add a word to the provision regarding how state law impacts the charter or legislation adopted by the city.
The section in question was adopted in 1931 as part of the original charter and stated that "nothing contained in this charter shall be construed as limiting the power of council to enact any ordinance or resolution not in conflict with the construction of the state."
"Somewhere along the line, the word not before in conflict disappeared from the charter," Hatzifotinos said. "We thought it might been removed as part of a previous charter review process as a statement of 'home rule,' that council could adopt something that would supersede state law.
"We reviewed the original charter and the work that other charter commissions had done to make sure that it wasn't intentional, but it apparently was a situation where the word not was accidentally not included at some point in some kind of typing error."
Thus, voters will be asked to approve adding the word not to that section of the charter.
Another proposed revision to the charter would update the section regarding the written notice of special meetings of council to state that such notices be submitted to "local publications" and that the public posting include the city's website.
The charter currently states notices be sent to "newspapers of general circulation."
Issue 30 also would revise the charter to change the deadline for local candidates for public office to file petitions with the board of elections from 75 to 90 days before the date of the general election.
The earlier deadline would conform with changes that have been made in state law, Kearns said.
When City Council voted to accept the charter commission's recommendations and place the issue on the November ballot, it also agreed to add a revision to allow candidates to start collecting signatures for their petitions 150 days before the general election.
The charter currently permits candidates to begin collecting signatures 100 days before the general election.
"We just felt that, to be fair, people should have a little more time to get out and collect signatures, especially if we're going to require them to file their petitions 90 days before an election," Kearns said. "That would only give them 10 days."