Among the myriad of candidates for statewide and Franklin County offices that Hilliard voters will consider at the polls Tuesday, Nov. 6, is a significant local issue.
Appearing as Issue 33 on the ballot, Hilliard voters will decide whether they want to switch to a city-manager form of government or to continue with an elected mayor.
In a city-manager form of government, the city council appoints a city manager who serves at the pleasure and direction of the city council, similar to how a school superintendent serves at the pleasure and direction of a school district's board of education whose members are elected.
The city manager is tasked with the day-to-day operations of the city, overseeing directors of the service, finance, parks and recreation and other departments.
Members of city council offered opposing views.
Supporters of the change say it would help the city's government operate more efficiently and also would align it with a majority of its suburban neighbors that have city managers, including Dublin, Worthington and Westerville. Those who oppose Issue 33 say that eliminating an elected mayor would undercut the system of checks and balances and isolate too much power in one branch of the government.
Hilliard City Council voted 5-1 in May to bring Issue 33 before voters. The decision was contrary to the recommendation of a citizen-led charter-review commission whose members voted 10-1 in February to retain the current form of government. If approved, the change in governance would commence Jan. 1, 2020.
The current term of Mayor Don Schonhardt – his fourth – ends Dec. 31, 2019.
– Kevin Corvo