Hilliard Charter Review Commission members said they would consider the testimony of elected and appointed officials from other central Ohio cities when considering the best model of government for Hilliard.
Whether Hilliard keeps a "strong-mayor" form of government or switches to a city-manager form of government via a charter amendment is but one issue commission members are expected to consider in the next year.
Kurt Gearhiser, chairman of the commission, said it has a formidable task but he was "incredibly impressed" with the panel of local administrators invited to a Nov. 29 meeting. They included David Collinsworth, Westerville city manager; Craig Treneff, Westerville City Council president; Terry Emery, city manager of Marysville; J.R. Rausch, Marysville City Council president; Tom Kneeland, mayor of Gahanna; and Garry Hunter, an attorney for the Ohio Municipal League.
They shared their views about the city-manager and strong-mayor models of municipal government.
Marysville officials recounted a bumpy transition from a mayor to city manager after voters approved such a change in 2013. Emery said Marysville was ready to transition by the end of 2014 but had agreed to allow the elected mayor to complete a term that extended to the end of 2015.
He recommended Hilliard officials, if the model were to change, allow no more than a year to transition and also rewrite the charter rather than amend only the section specific to its form of government.
Several of the representatives said city managers tend to provide greater consistency and a motivation to compromise with councils, whereas mayors answer to voters and are often well-acquainted and vested as residents.
"It's not simply a question of what's good and bad (about each model) but which is the best for you," Treneff said.
The charter-review commission's next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 3, at the Hilliard Municipal Building, 3800 Municipal Way.
Commission members are scheduled to meet the first Wednesday of each month in 2018 instead of the final Wednesday of the month as originally established at their organizational meeting in August.