Village charter review commission to meet, make recommendations

by Jeff Saunders | reporter Published:

Northfield Village -- For the second year in a row, voters may be asked to consider amendments to the village charter.

Village Council Feb. 13 approved the appointment of Lowrie Boulevard residents D'Andre Kilgore and Sabrina Pines to fill two of three vacancies on the five-member commission. Mayor Jesse Nehez said Kilgore and Pines were the only two applicants for the positions.

"I know they are eager to get started," said Nehez, "and to see what they can do."

One vacancy still needs to be filled, however, said Nehez. Commission member Scott Selle, who was hired as a village firefighter in January, resigned Feb. 13. Nehez said Selle resigned because the charter does not allow commission members to be village elected officials or employees. Interested village residents can call Nehez at 330-467-7139, ext. 11 to apply for Sellle's position on the commission.

Nehez said that Kilgore and Pines join the two commission members remaining from last year, Milford Drive resident Theresa Lefler and Lowrie resident Charla Mozina. The commission's first meeting at the Village Hall is scheduled for March 6 at 7 p.m.

The charter, which lays out the basic structure, rules and procedures of village government, can be viewed on the village's website.

To read the charter, go to www.northfieldvillage-oh.gov, click on "Government," then on "Codified Ordinances."

Under the charter, the commission must make its recommendations to Council within five months of its first meeting, after which Council then decides which recommendations will go on the ballot.

Last year, the commission made seven recommendations, which Law Director Brad Bryan said principally cleaned up charter language, including replacing archaic words and expressions, and provided greater clarity and consistency.

Council approved placing all seven recommendations, along with an eighth changes suggested by Councilor John Bolek. Votera approved all proposed changes.

"I think the commission did an amazing job last year," said Nehez. "They got their point across to the residents."

The charter requires the village to appoint a charter review commission every four years.

Macedonia's charter, by comparison, requires a commission every five years and with the last one in 2009, the next city commission is expected in 2014.

Townships, including Northfield Center and Sagamore Hills, do not have charters and therefore no charter review commissions.

Last year's village commission was the first since 2002, after the village did not appoint commissions on schedule.

Bryan said the village is having a commission again this year to align them in the future with municipal elections, when candidates for village elected officials are on the November ballot.

He said that because it is the second year in a row, he does not expect the process to be as involved.

"A lot was accomplished last year," he said.

Two areas that Council is asking the commission to look at include moving the start of the mayor's term from Dec. 1 to Jan. 1, as well as to determine if there are any changes that should be made as a result of recently passed state laws. The mayor's term change was considered last year, but Bryan said it was not considered "urgent" because the next mayoral election is not until 2015.

Bryan said he will work with the commission, as he did last year. His role, he said, is to explain the purpose of the charter to new members, make suggestions and, when the commission decides what recommendations it will make, draft them as legislation for Council to consider. He said he also provide information concerning any changes commission members may suggest.

"If they bring up anything, I'll advise them on the ramifications," he said.

Email: jsaunders@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9432

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