New Albany’s proposed charter amendments have been approved by voters.
According to final unofficial results from the Franklin County Board of Elections on Nov. 5, the amendment request was approved 933 votes (88%) to 130 votes (12%), with all seven precincts reporting.
The amendment request was designated as Issue 27 by the board of elections.
The charter amendments will take effect Jan. 1, said city spokesman Scott McAfee.
A committee reviewed the charter over a nine-month period, and New Albany City Council members decided to let the full electorate decide on changes the committee suggested, he said.
“The suggested charter revisions are totally resident-driven,” McAfee said.
Most of the requested changes are housekeeping in nature, according to New Albany city attorney Mitch Banchefsky. They include:
* Changing references from “village” to “city.” New Albany officially became a city in 2011 after surpassing the U.S. Census Bureau’s population threshold of 5,000.
* Defining the city’s form of government as a council-manager model.
* Making it clear that any qualified council member or other qualified individual may serve as magistrate for New Albany Mayor’s Court. Lawyers with the required training may preside over the court, Banchefsky said.
* Selecting a new president pro tempore every year instead of every two years.
* Allowing council to begin proceedings to compel a member to forfeit his or her seat if he or she has three unexcused regular-meeting absences in a 12-month period. The current charter says three consecutive meeting absences are required to begin this process.
* Labeling any police positions above the level of sergeant as unclassified. Officers at sergeant rank and below currently are classified employees (meaning they can’t be fired without cause) and would continue to be, Banchefsky said. The chief is the department’s only unclassified employee, so the change would help the department if it chose to add other higher-ranked leaders, he said.
In addition to Issue 27, New Albany voters’ ballots included unopposed candidates for several local offices.
In New Albany, Sloan Spalding ran for reelection as mayor, and Marlene Brisk, Michael Durik and Kasey Kist ran for their council seats. Kist was appointed in November 2018 to replace the late Glyde Marsh and had to run to continue serving a term that expires Dec. 31, 2021, according to the board of elections.
In the New Albany-Plain Local School District, Phil Derrow and Paul Naumoff ran for reelection to their second terms on the school board.
In Plain Township, trustee David Olmstead and fiscal officer Bud Zappitelli ran for reelection.
Check ThisWeekNEWS.com/NewAlbany for continuing coverage after the election.