New Albany leaders have begun the process of reviewing the city's charter, possibly culminating in proposed amendments being placed on the November 2019 ballot, according to city law director Mitch Banchefsky.

Correction: The Nov. 1 print version of this story incorrectly identified the last time charter-review amendments appeared on the ballot as 2010.

New Albany leaders have begun the process of reviewing the city's charter, possibly culminating in proposed amendments being placed on the November 2019 ballot, according to city law director Mitch Banchefsky.

Per the city's charter, a commission must review the charter to suggest any possible amendments every 10 years, Banchefsky said. The last review was in 2009, and amendments appeared on the ballot in November of the same year.

Commission members likely will bring a report with proposed amendments to New Albany City Council members in August 2019, Banchefsky said. Council members could approve all, some or none of the recommendations, he said.

The amendments they approve then would be placed on the ballot and put in front of voters.

The city's original charter dates to 1992, and since then, it has undergone a complete rewrite, Banchefsky said. More recently, the city has made minor amendments to the language.

"It can always be better, and that's what the charter commission is looking at," he said.

The commission is discussing possible amendments, which could change as the meetings progress, Banchefsky said.

Discussion thus far has included changing the government structure from mayor-council manager plan to simply council manager plan, which, Banchefsky said, more accurately reflects the city-manager form of government in which the mayor doesn't actually run the daily operations of the city. This change would not eradicate the mayor's current role; it would change only the government's title, he said.

Commission members also discussed the idea of giving the mayor the option to either appoint a magistrate for mayor's court or another eligible council member.

Banchefsky said he believes the mayor already has the authority within the existing charter to do so, but this would provide maximum flexibility. Anyone who serves as magistrate must have mandatory training, he said.

Members also talked about changing the president pro tempore's term from two years to one year to give other council members an opportunity to serve in that capacity, Banchefsky said.

Although the charter currently requires that council members have three consecutive unexcused absences to forfeit their seat, commission members discussed changing the rule to three unexcused absences in total, rather than three consecutive absences, he said.

Commission members are Banchefsky, Clerk of Council Jennifer Mason, council-member liaison Matt Shull, Glenn Redick, Mary Fee, Johnna Evans, Bill Carleton, secretary Debra Lowery, vice chairman Patrick Weyers and chairman Andy Cooke.

Council appointed the commission members, Mason said. The members' names came from a file Mason said she keeps of residents who have expressed a willingness to be appointed to a city board or commission plus a recommendation or two from council.

Meetings will be held at 4 p.m. the fourth Tuesday of every month at Village Hall, 99 W. Main St., according to the city's website. The first meeting was Aug. 30. The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 27.

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