By Elise Franco
City residents will have the choice to change the length of elected terms for council and the mayor, and add a limit to how many terms they can serve.
Frank Micchia, a longtime city resident, said he began circulating two petitions in May asking residents to support changing the city’s charter so that council members and the mayor would serve three, two-year terms.
Currently, council and the mayor are elected to four-year terms, and there is no limit on the number of times he or she may run.
Micchia said each petition needed signatures from 10 percent, or 375, of city residents who voted in the last gubernatorial election. He said he was able to obtain nearly 600 on both.
“We just need to bring some fresh thinking in and give more citizens an opportunity to serve,” he said. “Serving on council is a service one provides to the community. It’s not a lifetime job.”
City Manager Joe Warino said the petitions were verified by the Mahoning County Board of Elections, and on Aug. 7, one day before the filing deadline, council approved placing the changes on the ballot.
Warino said the changes would cause a high turnover in council and would take effect in November 2013.
“The terms are staggered right now, so they run two at a time, and there is a constant shift in personnel,” he said.
“One of our biggest problems at this time is, if the changes are approved, only one current member would be able to run again.”
Mayor William Kay, Councilman Andrew Skrobola and Councilman Dan Frazzini are in their second terms, which end at the end of 2013, Warino said.
Councilman Steve Rogers is also in his second term, though he was appointed during the first and won re-election in 2009, Warino said.
John Morvay is in the first year of his first term. He was elected in November 2011.
But Micchia said a shake-up is the reason he hopes residents will vote for the proposed amendments. “I think it’s time for some changes.”