It's looking more likely that Hilliard residents could be asked in November whether to change the city's form of government from a "strong-mayor" model to a city-manager model via a charter amendment.
Council members have scheduled a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 2, at the Hilliard Municipal Building, 3800 Municipal Way, to continue public discussion of the topic.
"It's something residents should decide," said Councilman Les Carrier, who has joined Tom Baker and Andy Teater in voicing support of a city-manager form.
In a city-manager form of government, a city manager is appointed and serves at the pleasure of City Council, in a similar manner to a school district's superintendent.
Carrier said he wants to introduce legislation April 9 to place the issue on the Nov. 6 general-election ballot. A second reading could be April 23 and a final reading May 14.
"I'm not willing to postpone it any longer," he said.
But council President Albert Iosue, who has voiced support for maintaining the strong-mayor form, said such an aggressive timeline "isn't that critical."
Law director Tracy Bradford said legislation could be introduced June 11, with a second reading June 25 and a final reading July 9, just before council's summer recess, and still meet the Aug. 8 filing deadline at the Franklin County Board of Elections.
Carrier said he is seeking an accelerated timeline to allow for the launch of an initiative petition to place the issue on the November ballot should the legislation be declined.
Meanwhile, Bradford said, she has prepared two documents for council members to consider. One includes sections of the charter the charter-review commission has reviewed; the other is a model based on a switch to a city-manager form.
The charter-review commission already had discussed the topic for months. In February, the commission voted 10-1 to recommend against changing to a city manager.
City Council members are divided not only the form of government but also on discussing any charter changes before the commission has completed its work and submitted recommendations.
Iosue has said that council's early action could undermine the tasks of the commission, which could submit recommendations Aug. 23, 12 months after their organizational meeting.
Carrier said the city-manager question needs to go before voters in November, well in advance of the February 2019 filing deadline for partisan council seats and mayor, both of which will be up for election in November 2019.
Carrier first suggested that council members join the commission at its April 3 meeting but Iosue said he preferred council meet independently.
"(The commission) already gave a recommendation (against a city manager) so why go to their meeting?" Iosue said.
In scheduling the April 2 meeting, it was discovered that Nathan Painter and Vice President Kelly McGivern would be absent.
"I don't need to be there. I could care less. ... You're going to make your own decision," McGivern replied when Carrier suggested alternate dates.