City Council Approves Two Charter Amendments; Two More Could Be Coming

Aug 24, 2015

Cincinnati residents will be asked to approve two Charter amendments this fall, and they could see two more before the deadline to make the ballot next week.  

City Council approved measures Monday for a permanent one mill property tax levy for city parks, and a second to let council hold executive sessions, or closed public meetings on six specific issues.  

But Council rejected a proposed amendment to eliminate the mayor's so called pocket veto, or keeping legislative items off the agenda.  

Council Member Kevin Flynn supported the issue because he said the Charter says the mayor shall refer items.

“It’s not to be able to hold it, to break it up, to change it,” Flynn said.  “If Council submits legislation, it is to be assigned.  I want to clarify that in the Charter.”

The proposal would have required the mayor to refer items within 14 days.  

But Vice Mayor David Mann said the mayor doesn't have a pocket veto.  He said Council can act if it wants items considered in a timely fashion.

“I think it’s a solution in search of a problem,” Mann said.  “I think we might be very unhappy with the result.”

Mayor John Cranley opposed the Charter amendment.

“I think it’s going to lead to wasteful spending, violate my commitment to transparency and gut the intent of the veto right,” Cranley said.

Cranley and others point to a memo from the city solicitor in 2010 that said there is no such thing as a pocket veto.  That document said council members could go to court if they felt the mayor was holding their items off the agenda.

Council could vote next week on Charter amendments changing the mayoral primary from September to May and another to change the swearing-in date for the mayor and council from December 1st to the first Tuesday after January 1st.