The local group known as “Citizens for a Better Kettering” is presenting Kettering citizens the opportunity to change the Kettering City Charter in five different ways. The group got the signatures needed to place Issues 31-35 on the ballot.
The sixth way to change the charter is via approving Issue 36 — written by a city appointed “Charter Review Committee.” Among its seven revisions of the charter, Issue 36 calls for the elimination of term limits for the mayor and for an increase in the limit of Council members from two terms to three.
In 2012, Citizens for a Better Kettering worked to pass two issues — issue 28 (approved by 62%) limited the council members and the mayor to two consecutive terms of four years each and issue 29 (approved by 55%) reduced the pay of the mayor and council members by 50%. (See this October, 2012 post: Kettering Council Splits On Endorsing Issues 28 / 29 — Tea Party Members vs Majority.) Issue 36, if approved, would reverse the term limits that Citizens for a Better Kettering got approved just four years ago.
Issue 31 (Limits power of Council to propose amendments)
- This Charter may be amended at any time in the manner provided for by the Constitution of Ohio, provided that Council may not propose any amendment hereto that seeks to alter, abolish or otherwise amend any provision in this Charter that addresses or concerns term limitations (Section 3-10), compensation (Section 3-5) or initiative, referendum and recall (Article IX). Any proposed amendment to this Charter, whether proposed by Council or by initiative, shall be submitted to the electors of the city only at a general election.
Issue 32 (Empowers citizens to force city to comply with charter)
- Enforcement of Charter Provisions. Any resident or taxpayer of the city shall have standing to seek the enforcement of any provision of this Charter or to restrain any action contrary to or in violation of this Charter through the filing of any legal action in an appropriate court. If said resident or taxpayer is successful, either through the entry of judgement, prompting a modification of the action or omission prior to the entry of judgement, or otherwise, then said resident or tax payer shall be entitled to an award of costs and litigation expenses, and the attorney prosecuting said action shall receive a reasonable compensation for such services.
Issue 33 (Opportunity to Speak at Council Meetings)
- Prior to consideration of or vote upon any proposed ordinance or resolution, Council shall provide all residents or taxpayers of the city a reasonable and equal opportunity to speak on any proposed ordinance or resolution during the course of and as part of each meeting at which such proposed ordinance or resolution will be considered or voted upon.
- Council shall ensure that the record of proceedings of its meetings include a fair and accurate summary of the comments made by any person during the course of any public meeting.
Issue 34 (Every two years residents to be mailed report on cost of 45 city employees)
- With respect to (i) the fifteen full-time employees with the highest total taxpayer costs (ii) fifteen full-time employees surrounding the median total taxpayer costs; and (iii) the fifteen full-time employees with the lowest total taxpayer costs, the City Council shall issue a report setting forth the following information: (q) the position title of each such employee; (b) the total wages paid by the city to each such employee; and (c) the monetary value of the city’s portion of all benefits provided to each such employee
- The foregoing report: (i) shall contain no other information or statements other than specifically provided for herein (ii) shall be issued by the City Council no later than April 15 of each odd-numbered year based on data for the preceding calendar year based on data fro the preceding calendar year, and (iii) shall be transmitted by postal mail to each residence within the city in which any registered voter resides.
- As used herein: (i) “full-time employee” shall be limited to those employees who were employed on a full-time basis for the entirety of the proceeding calendar year; and (ii) “total taxpayer costs” shall mean, with respect to each individual employee, the sum of the total wages paid by the city and the monetary value of the city’s portion of all benefits provided to the employee.
- The Clerk of Council shall: (i) post the foregoing report on the city’s internet site; and (ii) post and timely update on the city’s internet site all collective bargaining agreements and employment contracts to which the city is a party.
Issue 35 (Vacancies on Council to be filled by election, not appointment)
- Upon Council declaring the seat of any of its members to be vacant, said vacancy shall continue until a successor is chosen pursuant to an election as herein provided.
If a vacancy occurs, the remaining members of Council shall act by majority vote to fill the vacancy on a temporary basis. That temporary appointee shall serve until commencement of the term of a successor who is elected as provided below.If a vacancy occurs, the election of a successor shall take place at the next general municipalelection occurring within the city taking place more than one hundred twenty (120) days after the vacancy occurred, provided that Council may not provide for holding a special election solely for the purpose of filling such vacancy. Upon the certification of the election results by the Board of Elections, the elected successor shall take office immediately and swerve the balance of the expired term. If, however, that term balance would be less than twelve (12) months, no such election shall be held and the temporary appointee shall continue to hold office for the remainder of the term. Should a vacancy occur between election and taking office, the vacancy shall be filled by the newly elected council until the next general municipal election as provided by Section 3-2 of this Charter. Such newly elected council members shall take office immediately.
Issue 36: Charter Review Committee Amendment Recommendations
The Charter Review Committee for the City of Kettering has made the following recommendations for amending the Kettering City Charter:
- Sections 3-2, 3-3, 3-6, 3-8, 5-1, 5-2, 5-3, 5-4, 5-5, 5-6, 5-7, 8-3, 9-3, and 10-9 amended to replace male terms and male pronouns with gender neutral terms;
- Section 3-10 amended to eliminate term limits for office of Mayor and increase from two to three the number of consecutive terms Council Members can serve;
- Sections 4-3, 7-2, and 10-9 amended to set by ordinance the methods and technology used to give notice to the public;
- Section 5-2 and 6-2 amended to eliminate employee residency requirements;
- Section 7-13 amended to change the name and membership of the Parks and Recreation Board and set all other related matters related to the Board by ordinance;
- Sections 7-2, 7-3, and 7-5 amended to update the responsibilities of the Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals and clarify who can appeal decisions;
- Section 10-9 amended to define “elector” as used in the Charter