As 2020 gets underway, Bexley's charter-review commission is setting its agenda to address a range of issues that include the functions of city council and mayor's court.

The commission holds public meetings at 7 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month at Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capital University, 2199 E. Main St.

The commission, which convened in November, is formed approximately every 10 years to study the city's charter and provide recommendations back to Bexley City Council concerning possible amendments. The charter covers everything from building codes to how city government's executive and administrative branches operate.

Council and Mayor Ben Kessler selected the commission's 15 members in September. The members council selected are Mic Foster, Steve Grossman, Becky Guzman, Bethany Hahn-Ambrosius, Rachel Laing, Larry Long, Edgar Merritt III, John Offenberg, Jim Wilson and Stephanie Wilson. The members Kessler selected are Eloise Buker, Ira Kane, Sam Marcellino III, Mark Masser and Rush Witt. Offenberg serves as chairman and Jim Wilson is vice chairman.

At the commission's last meeting of 2019 on Dec. 16, Offenberg proposed forming a working group with select commission members who would make recommendations on which issues to address and how to structure meetings going forward.

Offenberg said he would ask members to volunteer to participate in the working group.

"I need a way to keep the meetings moving, that we be productive, that we budget the time so we can get things done," he said.

In January, Offenberg said, the commission plans to address the charter's judicial and legislative components, including how the city council and mayor's court conduct business.

Long said the commission should review whether Bexley's current structure of mayor's court, which hears traffic cases and violations of other city ordinances, is the most efficient.

"There's some revenue coming in through fines, but there's also some costs going out," Long said.

Laing, an attorney, said the commission should invite a representative from another municipality to hear how mayor's court functions there.

"Sometimes it can be helpful to hear from another jurisdiction on how they run their mayor's courts," Laing said. "As a prosecutor, I know that I have the mayor's courts I like and the mayor's courts I don't like, and that's largely based on availability of records."

In order to determine which issues to address, Marcellino suggested the commission read the city charter in its entirety and take up five articles of the document at a time, similar to how legal scholars study the U.S. Constitution.

"When you study constitutional law, the first thing you do is read the Constitution from front to back so you've seen the whole thing," said Marcellino, who also is an attorney.

"Then you can address issues within and kind of work through it as you go."

The commission's next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 6. For more information, visit bexley.org/crc.

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