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Youngstown: Council OKs just 4 charter amendments

Published: Tue, July 17, 2012 @ 12:04 a.m.

By David Skolnick



Of the 17 proposed charter amendments put forward by a committee for consideration, city council agreed to have the city law department write ballot language for only four.

The four involve complying with daylight savings time, having a conflict-of-interest policy for city workers, ward redistricting and eliminating term limits for mayor.

Council met Monday to discuss the proposals from the charter-review committee, consisting of 11 members appointed by council and the mayor.

Council has the final say on what charter amendments will be on the Nov. 6 ballot. Council is tentatively scheduled to meet July 30 to vote on ballot language for the amendments they support.

The two charter amendments recommended by council without changes to the committee’s language are:

Having the city be in compliance with the starting and ending dates of daylight savings time, changed in 2007 by the federal government. The city currently follows the federal change even though the charter has the old dates.

A conflict-of-interest policy for all city employees forbidding them from a personal interest in the profits of any contract or job with the city.

Also, the charter-review committee recommended the seven wards be redistricted so they’d have similar populations.

The recommendation was for council to have the work done no more than 90 days after a decennial federal census.

Though all council members said Monday that they supported redistricting, they said the 90 days was not enough time.

Instead, council agreed that redistricting “shall” be done after there’s been a “reasonable population change.”

Council members didn’t say what they considered to be a “reasonable population change,” and didn’t give themselves a deadline to redistrict; something not done in more than 30 years.

Most council members said Monday they are committed to starting that process soon, though some said the work may not be done until the end of 2013 or later, assuming city voters approve it on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Council also agreed to have ballot language written to eliminate term limits for the mayor, but nixed the charter-review committee’s recommendation to create the position of vice mayor.

Some council members said they also were interested in eliminating term limits for their positions, but took no action Monday.

Council also agreed to changes to recall-election language, but opted to do nothing now.

As for the 12 other proposals, most council members said they strongly opposed some including eliminating council president as an elected position, having nonpartisan elections, cutting their pay, and having a charter-review committee meet annually.

“We’re not killing the recommendations, we’re just not drafting legislation for those,” said council President Jamael Tito Brown.

“It’s politics trumping good government, and the five months we spent meeting on this were a waste of the committee’s and public’s time,” Phil Kidd, a committee member, said of council’s decisions.


1mishmash(333 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Four ?

What happened to the other 13 ?

The Committee is a useless entity unless City Council allows the voters to look at all 17.

This is RIDICULOUS and WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN NEXT YEAR when these same people want re-elected.

I am sure someone else has to agree with me ?

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2palbubba(802 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Never vote for an incumbent, that is a start. Vote against eliminating term limits and call your council person and voice your displeasure at their self serving action.

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3howardinyoungstown(591 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Time to start a recall drive for city council, these recommendations where made by a group of citizens hand picked by the council and mayor.

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4PhilKidd(189 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

So, of the 17 recommendations: Council picks two 'no-brainer' recommendations (daylight savings and ethics contract)...one (term limits) that attempts to extend political lives...and adds more ambiguous language to redistricting, creating a language shell game regarding the recommendation.

Denied: any item that calls for a reexamination of the current electoral structure (Council President, Vice Mayor, salary, open elections).

Council striking down those items before allowing people to vote on them is a clear conflict of interest and a pure and simple example of political self-interest trumping good government and democracy. I guess the people of Youngstown are going to have to do things the hard way (petitions) if they want the opportunity to decide on such issues.

In the meantime, remember these 8 individuals and this situation if they ever try to run for office again. In any capacity.

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5Westsider(269 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

If I were a member of the charter review committee I would feel completely disenfranchised and as though participation in the process was a waste of time.

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6One_Who_Stayed(240 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

YBR - apparently you don't seem to understand what city council just did.

All council did was to tell the people of Youngstown that they are too stupid to make up their own minds. No more - no less. They asked these people to research and propose changes to the city's charter - which they did. Not everyone on the committee agreed with all of these. They were compromises between what all of the members thought were good ideas. Personally I think most of them were good ideas

Personally, I thought the limiting of overtime was a horrible idea, so I would have voted against it - but I now will not have that opportunity.

Personally, I thought having a "standing" charter review committee was a great idea. They are not paid, so they will be there for the "right" reasons and will have no impetus to make knee jerk decisions or producing something just to produce something. The reason that there were 17 recommendations that got ignored, is that there is no regular meeting of anyone who would review the charter. But it's a moot point now, because I wont get to vote on that one either.

The point of having a vice-mayor instead of a president of council is to accomplish the same thing while saving the taxpayers $50K per year in salary and benefits. I would have voted for this one as well, but I wont get to now.

Council "should" redistrict whenever population changes, but they haven't done it in 30 years! I'd say that going from 170K people to 68K is a significant population change - wouldn't you? And yet here we sit - with the vote of people in Janet Tarpley's ward counting for roughly twice what my vote does. Also, how do you get rid of 2 council positions and retain 7 wards? I definitely would have voted for this one and if they screw around with the language enough to not make it happen in short order, I will file the lawsuit myself!

Fact is that we need to recall every one of these paper-weights. The are entrenched political hacks who have only one thing in mind no matter what the situation - "how will it best benefit me personally?"

Bad government at great expense. That's what we have now and unless we act as a city that's had enough - that's all we will ever have.

It's time to throw these bums out of office - period.

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