The clock has started for the 11-member Hilliard Charter Review Commission to make recommendations for amendments no later than Aug. 23, 2018.
According to the authorizing resolution, the commission must present recommendations to City Council no later than 12 months after the date of its organizational meeting, which was Aug. 23.
Hilliard City Council will have the autonomy to accept, reject or amend any recommendations the commission makes concerning charter amendments.
Any amendments City Council approves would be placed on the ballot for consideration by voters.
The process to review the charter was last undertaken in March 2006, with recommendations forwarded to City Council in October 2007. City Council reviewed the recommendations for almost two years before voters in November 2009 approved amendments that included the removal of term limits for council members and the mayor and a requirement that the charter be reviewed at least every 10 years.
The charter last was amended in 2016, when voters approved Issue 9 to limit City Council's use of tax-increment-financing agreements and emergency rezonings.
Among the issues the charter commission is expected to consider is whether term limits should be reinstituted, if local elections should be nonpartisan, whether council members should be elected by wards and, perhaps most notably, if the city should switch from a strong mayor to a city-manager model of government.
Ten years ago, commission members considered testimony from local city managers about the form of government but made no such recommendation to amend it.
Attorney Kurt Gearhiser will lead the commission after a unanimous decision by his peers Aug. 23.
"I think serving on the commission is an opportunity to give back to my community," said Gearhiser, a private-practice attorney who was among 19 candidates to express interest in serving on the commission.
Michael-lynn Evans, a government-affairs consultant, was named vice chairman.
Of the 11 members on the commission, two served on the last one: Al Iosue, City Council's representative, and Mayor Don Schonhardt.
Iosue resigned during the commission's deliberations in 2007 when he was elected to City Council.
The commission also includes Scott Brown, executive director of the Rotary Club of Columbus and a former member of Hilliard City Council; John Bryner, a former City Council member who retired from the Franklin County Engineer's Office; Alex Cofield, a fiscal manager in Columbus' development department; Melinda Dennis, a real-estate agent and legislative aide; Tabi McCluskey, a project manager for Verizon Wireless; Brian Michel, director of human resources at Advanced Drainage Systems; and Ronald Whiteside, an accountant.
The commission has two alternates: Angie Rader, a government teacher at Hilliard Davidson High School, and Mel Sims, an accountant and business owner.
Meetings of the charter review commission are open to the public.
Law director Tracy Bradford advised members to use the city email address each was provided and that any correspondence was a public record.
The commission is expected to meet at 6:30 p.m. on the last Wednesday of each month at the Hilliard Municipal Building, 3800 Municipal Way.