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On Election Day, leave Canfield charter alone

DEAR EDITOR:

The Nov. 2 ballot for Canfield city contains three amendments for our city charter, which is our city’s “constitution.” It is a vital document.

“Citizens for a Better Canfield” proffered the amendments. Who is behind these changes? What are their motives? As Paul Harvey would say, “Here is the rest of the story.”

Utility Workers Union of America is bargaining with Canfield. UWUA represents six public works employees. None of these six employees are city residents. Our city manager represents Canfield taxpayers in the bargaining process. Negotiations can be contentious. The union and the six are not satisfied.

Union strategy appears to be “change the city” under the guise of making “Canfield Better.” The union leader lives in Nashville. Many ballot inclusion signatures were gathered by paid collectors, one from Columbus.

Union plan: Amend city charter to prevent spending tax dollars to influence political decisions. This is a “red herring,” misleading and distracting. Cities, under Ohio law, cannot do this.

This amendment unnecessarily clutters our charter. Vote no.

Amending the charter would reduce council terms from four to two years. Council meets twenty-two times a year for less than two hours. All have families, most have full-time jobs. Learning how our city works requires more than 88 hours or two years. Term limits exist.

Do not change term length. Vote no. Amending the charter would allow the city manager to be recalled. Sounds reasonable right? But this is the most pernicious amendment. It will harm our city. Our charter is clear. Elect a council who selects a city manager. Council is accountable to voters, and the manager is accountable to council. Council hires and can fire our city manager. Council members can be recalled. Charter designers, after exhaustive studies of city governments, wisely separated responsibilities of managing day-to-day city business from the vagaries of politics. The city manager can make decisions based on what is best for all, and is not beholding to disgruntled minority groups.

On recalling the city manager, vote no.

Canfield is safe and clean. We have good employees, including public works. Leaves are picked up. Streets are plowed. Potholes are hard to find. There are fine city parks. Our City Green bustles with events. Parades and events are exceptional. There is a beautiful library and good schools. The 911 response is phenomenal. Council meetings are open, members are readily accessible. City expenditures are online.

Want to better our city? Run for council. Leave our charter alone!

JOE LOCICERO

Canfield

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