We recently reached out to the Charter Commission that is working on the charter for Circleville. Secretary, Andi Humphries, took a few minutes to answer some questions. Here is that conversation.
CULTIVATOR: What benefits are there to a voter who lives in Circleville. The response in the “What is…” seems kind of generic as to what it would mean directly to a voter.
CHARTER COMMISSION: “What is a charter” page is one of the lead in pages of the booklet containing the charter that will be sent to voters. It is not a stand-alone document. It purposely doesn’t state particulars, as it is not a campaign piece.
CULTIVATOR: What benefits are there to businesses who operate in city limits? I’m guessing there would be, but again, I’m not for sure I understand what.
CHARTER COMMISSION: Benefits to businesses and residents in Circleville would be the same: Management run precisely according to the ordinances, all the ordinances, of the city.
CULTIVATOR: How is the city manager chosen? By vote or appointed? One complaint I’ve heard is that the city manager is appointed and thereby not held accountable to the voters. According to the charter in Dayton, the manager has more power than elected officials as it says, “The City Manager shall be the chief executive officer of the city, responsible to the Commission for the management of all city affairs placed in the manager’s charge by law or this Charter.” Does the Circleville charter state the same thing?
CHARTER COMMISSION: The city manager is appointed by city council, which is an elected body. The elected body is accountable to the voters.
CULTIVATOR: If the mayor is just a “ceremonial head”, then why are the citizens voting for them?
CHARTER COMMISSION: In our studies, residents want overwhelmingly want an elected mayor.
CULTIVATOR: Likewise, is this something that Circleville decided to put in themselves?
CHARTER COMMISSION: Charters have strong, ceremonial, and those chosen by elected council from members. After research and discussion, WE decided the course for Circleville’s mayor.
CULTIVATOR: According to the Charter from Pickerington the Mayor does still have more powers and doesn’t sound like a “ceremonial head”. In the powers section, their charter states, “Manager Supervision. The Mayor shall supervise the City Manager. The City Manager will be responsible to the Mayor. The Mayor has the right to discipline the City Manager.” Is this not the case with the charter you are attempting to pass for Circleville? In Pickerington the mayor can still “veto” too. So, the mayor does not sound like a ceremonial head there. Does the mayor still have the same power in the Circleville charter?
CHARTER COMMISSION: As stated before, there are many options in many charters. We made an informed decision on lots of issues. I’m not going to debate Dayton’s or Pickerington’s choices.
CULTIVATOR: Can you explain how things would be “modernized” to help purchasing, etc? Why can’t the city modernize things with its current system?
CHARTER COMMISSION: State statutes define competitive bidding and related issues for statutory forms of government. The details in the charter details legal and fair systems for purchasing, but without the cumbersome processes currently in place.
CULTIVATOR: According to the following site, there are 34 cities in Ohio (out of 120+ that have populations of 15,000 or more) that have a charter.
Are there more examples of cities that have moved to their own charters?
CHARTER COMMISSION: We based our research on surrounding cities, cities in Ohio with similar populations, and those with similar demographics.
CULTIVATOR: From the way your charter sounds, how are voters protected from a city manager who wants to enforce their own agenda, and not what voters want? This is another comment that has come up while speaking to others about the charter. The “What is a charter” paper kind of leaves this open and confusing.
CHARTER COMMISSION: Council answers to the voters, the manager answers to council.
CULTIVATOR: Where do readers find a copy of the proposed charter?
CHARTER COMMISSION: All registered voters in Circleville will receive a charter booklet in mid-June.
If you have any additional questions, please contact the “Charter Commission of the City of Circleville” via email to [email protected]. If you are apposed to the charter, please let us know, and we will provide your email address here.
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