The city's Charter Review Commission is looking for feedback from residents.

The city's Charter Review Commission is looking for feedback from residents.

The charter says council has the option to review the document every 10 years. The last review happened in 1998. The committee began meeting in November 2009 and is near the end of the review process .

"We are taking a break until January 10th," said commission chairman John Offenberg.

A special meeting will be held Jan. 24 at Cassingham complex at 7 p.m., to give residents an opportunity to weigh in on proposed changes.

The charter review commission has been meeting weekly for the past couple of months, said commission member Stephen Keyes.

"We originally envisioned twice per month during 2010 but for the past few months we have been meeting weekly because there are issues to deal with," he said. "That has been a great experience."

Keyes said commission members have been focused on taking a long-term view of the charter to benefit Bexley residents and implement changes that will serve the city for the next decade.

One issue the commission has looked at is changing a provision in the charter prohibiting drive-through windows at Bexley businesses. Offenberg said members of the city's Strategic Land Use Committee and Planning Commission have requested these windows be permitted on Livingston Avenue.

Businesses across the street in Columbus on Livingston have such windows, making it difficult for Bexley businesses to be competitive, he said.

The commission also has been looking at the city auditor and finance director positions, a matter that is yet to be resolved.

"We have found that most cities we have looked at, with a few exceptions, no longer have elected auditors," Offenberg said. "Even if they do, most have a finance director that reports directly to the mayor and to city council."

Keyes said commission members compared Bexley's charter to charters from other central Ohio communities similar to Bexley. He said typically the financial leader reports to the mayor or chief executive officer of the city.

"The focus is definitely not to do away with the auditor position," he said. "There is a strong reason to have an independent auditor function. The issue is our auditor doesn't just audit but appears to be doing financial strategy and planning functions that you see within the mayor's office."

The commission is struggling with determining the right financial leadership duties, he said, adding commission members are still working through that issue.

In comparing other communities around central Ohio, committee members also noticed that most cities have the authority to remove an elected official from office if that official has been convicted of a felony. The Bexley charter is silent on the issue.

Another issue charter members would like to address is a long-term excused absence by a council member. Council member Matt Lampke has been deployed to Iraq and is expected to be gone for as long as a year. The charter has no provision for naming a temporary replacement.

Offenberg said Lampke came to the charter review commission earlier this year to ask that a provision be added to the charter that would enable council to excuse a member during a long-term absence.

While city attorney Lou Chodosh believes council has the authority to select a temporary replacement, the charter does not specifically address the issue, Offenberg said. The commission could recommend adding language to the charter to define the policy for a long-term excused absence.

"This would put in stone if they chose to excuse someone for military service or some other reason to find a temporary replacement," he said.

Offenberg said commission members are looking for feedback from the public during the Jan. 24 meeting.

The group is tentatively set to report proposed changes to council in February. By following that timeline, council would have time to review the commission's recommendations and place an issue or issues on the November ballot.

Members of the charter review commission include: Offenberg, Keyes, Greg Adams, Kevin Brady, Don Brosius, Matt Damschroder, Jason Dolin, Eric Duffee, Mitch Fries, Robyn Jones, Carol Lannan, Diane Peterson, David Walker and Linda Zupnick.