Bexley City Council codifies Citizen Review Advisory Board

Chris Bournea
ThisWeek
City of Bexley

Bexley City Council voted 7-0 on Oct. 13 to approve Ordinance 38-20, which codifies the Bexley Citizen Review Advisory Board that Mayor Ben Kessler created with an executive order in June. 

The board is charged with reviewing complaints pertaining to unlawful discrimination or bias directed by city employees that are under appeal to the mayor.  

Ordinance 38-20 expands the board from the three current members to five and establishes three-year terms for each member, said council member Troy Markham, who introduced the legislation. 

“It would offer the public an opportunity to apply to be on that board,” Markham said. “The board members will be selected by the mayor with City Council approval.” 

The three members appointed in June are Grandon Avenue resident Bryan Drewry, Bullitt Park Place resident Becky Guzman and South Remington Road resident Lee Nathans.

Kessler said each member has completed the Bexley Citizen Police Academy, which familiarizes residents on how police interact with the community, and also has served in various community-service roles. 

Nathans, who is president of the Bexley Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association, said he supports expanding the board. 

“Council has developed processes to be responsive and accountable for city employees, for the citizens of Bexley,” Nathans said. “You’ve further developed that process by having an objective third party as concierge for citizen complaints.

"This formalizes the process even more and is very responsive to what the city is trying to accomplish in terms of having the city … treat citizen complaints in the most appropriate way possible.” 

Kessler said the city soon will advertise the two openings. 

“I think it’s incredibly important that we advance this to the next level, which is going through a confirmation process of council, advertisement of those positions and codifying it,” Kessler said. “I think this is an important step to transparency, accountability on absolutely all sides.” 

City Attorney Marc Fishel said council can revisit Ordinance 38-20 to revise the duties of the board, as necessary.  

“We definitely heard from a lot of people with other ideas for an end product that differs from what has been passed by City Council. I think what has been passed by City Council is very credible,” Fishel said. “If additional changes need to be made over time, the city is going to be open to those changes. This should be a living, breathing document. As we learn more, maybe it gets changed over time.”  

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