CORTLAND Ex-panel members seek amendments
The former charter reviewers need to get 250 signatures on each petition.
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
CORTLAND -- Former members of the city's Charter Review Commission are circulating petitions to put three proposed charter amendments on the ballot.
The residents hope to have the needed signatures by Thursday -- the deadline at the Trumbull County Board of Elections to place issues on the November ballot.
Each petition must have at least 250 valid signatures. The former commission members attempted to get the signatures last year, but fell short of their goal.
Former Commission Chairman Ken Zimmerman said that last year members didn't give themselves enough time to get all the signatures. He said residents didn't turn them down, but it took time going house to house.
Reason: The former members started circulating the petitions for the proposed amendments because city council last year had chosen not to place the commission's 29 proposed charter amendments on the ballot.
Zimmerman said the members wanted to circulate the petitions because they were disappointed with council's inaction.
Voters must approve any amendments to the charter.
The proposals the former commission members want on the ballot are:
U Allowing any city resident, not just council members, to apply for the position of mayor if the mayor were to resign. And if a sitting councilman is appointed, the councilman would relinquish his council seat.
U Requiring that a person appointed to council stand for election at the first regularly scheduled election after the appointment, rather than serving the entire remainder of the term to which he or she had been appointed.
U Staggering the terms for council members so some would begin their terms Jan. 1 and others would start Jan. 2.
Mayor Melissa Long noted that the city charter requires that a review commission be appointed every 10 years to go through the charter and recommend changes.
The mayor appointed the seven members to the commission early last year and it conducted several public meetings before submitting its recommendations to Long in July.
All commission members are city residents.