Council Votes to Place Charter Amendment on May Primary Ballot
During their meeting on Monday night, Columbus City Council voted to place a charter amendment on the May 8 primary ballot. Recommended by the Charter Review Committee council assembled in late 2016, the proposal would expand the size of council from seven to nine members, each from a designated district and elected at-large.
The move came just hours after citizens’ ballot committee Everyday People for Positive Change (EDP) filed a suit against the Franklin County Board of Elections and each member of council for rejecting EDP’s own charter amendment, which council said violates the single-subject rule.
EDP’s proposal, which would increase the size of council to 13 members (10 elected by designated districts, three elected at-large), also seeks to reform the appointment process and add caps to campaign contributions.
The proposal council approved for the ballot modified the appointment process as well, requiring at least one public hearing prior to the appointment of an individual to a council vacancy. The approved proposal would also extend the time period for filling a vacancy from 30 to 45 days. Should voters support the initiative, these changes would take place in 2023.
EDP responded quickly to council’s placement of the charter amendment on the ballot, expressing dissent in a Facebook post last night:
“Council attempts an act of deception. At the last minute, they voted to put their flawed 2016 Charter Review Committee proposal n [sic] the ballot. It was not on the agenda Friday, in an attempt to preclude people from knowing about it and speaking to it when it was introduced. However, the Dispatch let us know, and we were able to get people downtown on short notice to speak against this tomfoolery. Willis Brown also served council with the lawsuit we had filed earlier in the day for their effort to keep citizen reform from the ballot.”
“We are dedicated to ensuring that residents maintain a high-level of trust and accountability with Council and governing processes,” said Council President Shannon Hardin in a press release. “This action is the culmination of work and recommendations from the Charter Review Committee.”