The 11 members and two alternates on the 2020 Canal Winchester Charter Review Commission began a review Feb. 26 of the document that serves as the city's constitution.
Every 10 years, appointed citizens are charged with reviewing, line by line, the city charter, which includes 12 articles related to Canal Winchester City Council, the mayor, boards and commissions and other leadership functions.
"We think it's great that Canal Winchester took advantage of home rule under the Ohio Constitution to operate under a charter," commission chairman Michael Stobart said. "It is even better that we have a process to periodically review the charter to see if changes are needed as our community develops. ... We have a strong representation from the community."
Members of the review commission include council appointees Stobart, Katy Santore, Jackie Marion, Nick Franklin, Liana Obert and Amy Giesecke and mayoral appointees Charles Carpenter, Ryan Rose, Pat DeWitt, Marilyn Rush-Ekelberry and Steve Donahue. Alternates are Jim Bohnlein and Rick Deeds. Rush-Ekelberry is the commission's vice-chairwoman.
The commission's work will be a yearlong process.
"When they're done with their review, it goes to City Council. Then council can either say, 'Yes, these changes will go to residents for a vote,' or 'No, it's not going to go to a vote,' " Mayor Mike Ebert said.
The city adopted its charter in 1995. Amendments were suggested by the last review commission formed in 2010 and those became effective in early 2011.
In November 2010, Canal Winchester's change from village to city status prompted several charter amendments, which residents approved.
Most dealt with changing the language throughout the charter to reflect the fact that Canal Winchester would be a city once results of the 2010 census were tabulated.
Two of the amendments were major changes. One gave the mayor the right to hire an administrator, with council approval, to help run the city. Another deals with how Canal Winchester will handle bids, including a design-build approach, where a project may be designed and built by the same contractor rather than by two separate contractors.
The charter review commission will establish a regular schedule of meetings, which will be open to the public.
"We are very early in the charter review process," Stobart said. "We spent our first meeting setting up the framework and schedule for the review. We will begin tackling the substantive review at our next meeting."
The commission's next meeting is 7 p.m., March 11, at Town Hall, 10 N. High St.