Oxford reviewing city charter


By Kelsey Kimbler - kkimbler@civitasmedia.com



OXFORD — The Charter Review Commission revealed recommended changes to the Oxford City Charter at the Tuesday, Dec. 6 meeting of city council.

During the meeting, council held the first reading of an ordinance which will put the changes to the charter on the ballot for voters on Nov. 7, 2017.

It will have to pass one more reading, scheduled Dec. 20, to be approved.

Oxford’s charter was adopted by voters in 1960, adopting a Council-Manager form of government. One of the provisions of the charter is that city council will appoint a Charter Review Commission every 10 years.

In 2016, Steve Dana, Edna Southard, Richard Keebler, Steve Snyder, and Corey Watt were appointed to the CRC.

Commission members were assisted by Doug Elliott, Steve McHugh, Mary Ann Eaton, and Kim Newton in their review. They met five times and came up with recommendations for changes which will be placed on the ballot and voted on by the electors of Oxford next fall.

The recommended changes remove, add, and revise several sections, thought to no longer be relevant or to need clarification.

The charter will be changed by:

  1. “Removing Section 2.13 regarding police and fire personnel not being required to deliver agendas and other mail;
  2. removing Section 2.14 regarding Westgate Drive being maintained as a cul-de-sac;
  3. revising Section 3.02 to provide that ordinances should be introduced in the form required for final adoption and to update the language of the enacting clause of an ordinance;
  4. revising Section 3.04 to provide that ordinances passed by Council should be published by placing the ordinance on the City’s website and in not less than three of the most public places in the City for a period of not less than ten days and further providing that failing to publish as stated does not invalidate any ordinance;
  5. revising Section 2.06 to remove the requirement that six copies of all model or standard codes adopted by Council be available in the office of the Clerk of Council, to remove the requirement that additional copies be available for sale, and to provide that one copy of all model or standard codes be adopted by Council be available for viewing at the City offices;
  6. adding Section 5.03 to provide that Council has the authority to adopt personnel ordinances or rules and regulations which, if in conflict with the laws of the state of Ohio, prevail; to provide that all appointments and promotions of City employees shall be made based on merit; to provide the exempt and classified positions of the City; to provide that the City Manager shall provide the rules for merit and fitness as the basis for appointment and promotion; to provide that the City Manager shall make appointments for all positions in the classified service based on a competitive examination and on other qualifications and that appointments should be made from a list of the five candidates who ranked highest on the eligibility list; to provide that the City Manager shall make promotions for all positions in the classified service based on competitive examination and other qualifications and that promotional examinations may be restricted to current employees or may be opened to other qualified candidates; to provide that promotions shall be made from a list of the three candidates who ranked highest on the eligibility list; to provide that no officer or employee in the classified service can be demoted or removed except for cause and after a hearing and that Council will provide for enforcement by ordinance and appeals will be to the Personnel Appeals Board; and to provide that the appointment of a new employee shall not be deemed complete until a probationary period of twelve months has elapsed and not to exceed eighteen months for sworn officers and that a probationary employee can be discharged at any time during the probationary period upon the recommendation of the department head with the approval of the City Manager;
  7. revising Section 5.06 to provide that Council appoints a Director of Finance for an indefinite term, that the Director of Finance is the fiscal officer of the City and is responsible for the accounting, collecting, and disbursing of public funds, that the Director of Finance countersigns all bonds and notes issued by the City, and that the Director of Finance will perform other functions as assigned by ordinance and the City Manager;
  8. revising Article VIII to remove the reference to Civil Service Commission and insert reference to Personnel Appeals Board;
  9. revising Section 8.01 to provide that there shall be a Personnel Appeals Board consisting of three qualified electors of the City who are appointed by Council for a three year term, that Council will fill vacancies by appointment for the unexpired term, that each member cannot be a candidate for any other public office or be an employee of the City, and that the City and the Personnel Appeals Board do not have jurisdiction over and are not obligated to perform any duties with regard to the employees of the Talawanda City School District;
  10. revising Section 8.02 to provide that the Personnel Appeals Board serves without compensation, hears appeals from any nonexempt employee or applicant who has successfully completed a probationary period, has the power to subpoena witnesses and require the production of documents, that all decisions of the Board are final, and that the Board has the power to hear and determine appeals of disciplinary actions, suspensions, demotions, or removals of employees if not resolved upon a hearing and determination by the City Manager.
  11. revising section 8.09 to remove reference to Civil Service Commission and insert reference to Personnel Appeals Board;
  12. removing Section 9.07 regarding watchers and challengers for regularly nominated candidates;
  13. removing Section 9.08 regarding elections of candidates;
  14. removing Section 10.01 regarding the oath of office for officers and employees;
  15. revising Section 11.01 to provide that the City is the legal successor of the Village of Oxford and therefore has title to all property owned by its predecessor and that adoption and amendments to the Charter do not impair rights vested in the City nor discharge liability previously incurred by the City:
  16. removing Section 11.02 regarding continuation of ordinances;
  17. removing Section 11.03 regarding continuation of officers after adoption of the Charter;
  18. removing Section 11.04 regarding continuation of employees after adoption of the Charter;
  19. removing section 11.05 regarding the transferring of public records and property upon termination of tenure of office or employment for officers and employees;
  20. removing Section 11.06 regarding continuation of contracts and public improvements after the adoption of the Charter;
  21. removing Section 11.07 regarding pending actions and proceedings that were in place at the time of the adoption of the Charter;
  22. removing Section 11.08 regarding when the Charter took effect when it was adopted.”

If a second reading passes on Dec. 20, then these changes will appear on the Nov. 7, 2017 ballot with the same wording listed above.

By Kelsey Kimbler

kkimbler@civitasmedia.com

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH