CHARTER REVIEW COMMISSION Panel presents city council with 4 amendment proposals

Council will now consider six proposed charter amendments.
YOUNGSTOWN -- With a bare minimum quorum of six members present, the Charter Review Commission presented city council with four additional proposed charter amendments Thursday.
The amendments, together with two previously submitted proposed amendments, will go before council's legislative committee at 5:30 p.m. Monday. The full council is to consider them at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Council's deadline to put proposed charter amendments on the Nov. 2 ballot is Sept. 2.
The amendments the commission sent to city council Thursday would:
*Create a position of director of human resources.
*Give 10 points extra credit on passing civil service exam scores to people who live in the city when they take the exams, similar to the extra 10 points already given to veterans.
*Require the park and recreation commission and health department to follow the same affirmative action policies in awarding contracts as the rest of city government.
*Require the city to update its comprehensive plan at least every 10 years, immediately after each U.S. Census.
Other amendments
The 11-member commission earlier had sent to council a proposed amendment that would abolish eight-year term limits for the mayor, council president and council members, effective Jan. 1, 2007, and another proposed amendment that would abolish council aides and raise council members' salaries.
Council members' salaries would rise from $600 a year to the $27,800 a year now paid to aides, who are typically council members' spouses or other family members. The council president's salary would rise from $900 to $28,100 a year.
Law Director John McNally said his department continues to research legal questions concerning a proposed charter amendment that would establish a civilian police review board.
Park commission gripe
The charter commission heard Billy Cox of Harvard Street call for the park and recreation commission to be abolished and its functions placed under the street department to eliminate unnecessary "duplicate work."
Cox also protested the city's decision to turn over Evans Field to the Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority for its Hope VI housing project. In a written statement issued to the press in conjunction with Thursday's meeting, he also decried what he called neglected maintenance at numerous city parks and pools.
Joseph McRae, park and recreation director, said Cox's maintenance concerns properly should come before the park and recreation commission, not the charter review commission. McRae said Cox's concerns about leakage of water from North Side Pool and through the pool-house roof are being addressed.
The meeting, attended by about 20 city residents, who were not members of the commission, began almost a half-hour late because commission members were awaiting a quorum.
"It's always been difficult to get a quorum. People are donating their time," said William Carter, commission chairman, adding that commission members have regular employment that places major demands on their time. "When you're working with people who are volunteering their time, it's not unusual not to get a quorum," Carter said.

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