Unclear Whether Cincinnati Will Vote On Charter Reforms This Year

Aug 4, 2015

Cincinnati voters may see a series of city charter amendments on the November ballot.  Or they might not.

A task force spent more than a year reviewing the charter, line-by-line, to come up with four recommendations, all of which, if passed by voters, would make some major changes to the offices of the mayor and city council. 

But so far Mayor John Cranley hasn't referred the amendments to a council committee for consideration.  Council would need to act by early September for the charter reform package to make the November ballot.

The major changes recommended by the task force include:

  • Doing away with the mayor's “pocket veto” by requiring the mayor to assign all legislation to council committee within 14 days of receiving it; 
  • Allowing council to initiate the firing of the city manager, with the requirement that five council members would be necessary to raise the issue and concurrence with the mayor or a “super majority” of council to carry out the dismissal; 
  • Allow city council to hold closed-door meetings within the purposes laid out by Ohio’s Sunshine law, including conducting preliminary interviews with city manager candidates, and discussions of security issues;
  • And a series of changes to make the charter consistent with Ohio law, the state and U.S. Constitutions, including the changing of city council’s swearing-in date from December 1 to the first week of January and moving the mayoral primary from September to May.

Task Force co-chair Mike Morgan explained the process to council’s Rules and Audit Committee Tuesday.

“We did not dismiss the fact that there are questions, like changes in election systems, that merit further discussion,’’ Morgan said. “What we did decide is that we are only going to produce the recommendations that we felt we could produce because they were based on research.”