Bay Charter Review Commission approves 5 amendments for ballot
Bay Village voters will have five charter amendments to consider on the Nov. 8 ballot, ranging from the correction of a typographical error to the restructuring of the process to fill vacant City Council seats.
The 2022 Charter Review Commission, which consists of nine Bay residents appointed by Mayor Paul Koomar and confirmed by City Council, began the decennial review of the city’s “constitution” in early February. After holding 14 public meetings, the Commission voted unanimously on five proposed amendments.
AMENDMENT 1: PREAMBLE
The Commission approved the inclusion of an aspirational statement in the preamble that members felt reflect the values of Bay Village – “representative democracy, political leadership, citizen participation, sustainability, diversity and inclusiveness.” They also updated the reference to the city’s name, changing it from its former name, “Village of Bay,” to the current “Bay Village.”
AMENDMENT 2: ARTICLE II, SECTION 2.4
One of the “hot button” issues the Commission explored was the process for filling vacant City Council seats. A controversial, but entirely legitimate, appointment was made last year. The Commission has proposed language that clarifies the process to provide better transparency and avoid a real or perceived conflict of interest in future appointments. If the amendment passes, sitting Council members will be considered for the vacancy first. Should none of their own members be selected, Council will choose from a pool of qualified applicants from the community.
AMENDMENT 3: ARTICLE VI, SECTION 6.3
Changes to Section 6.3 clarify which positions are in the city’s classified and unclassified service and extend the probationary period for promotional appointments from 4 months to 12 months. Two positions, Mechanic and Clerk-Secretary, will switch from classified to unclassified when the current employees holding those jobs leave and new hires are made.
AMENDMENT 4: ARTICLE VI, SECTION 6.4
The Charter Review Commission discussed the concept of “home rule” as granted by the Ohio Constitution, and its importance in tailoring local laws and ordinances to the unique needs of Bay Village. The proposed charter language reinforces this standard as it relates to the Civil Service Commission.
AMENDMENT 5: ARTICLE VI, SECTION 6.5
This proposed amendment clarifies a small, but potentially significant, typographical error that the Commission identified in the charter language regarding the process of removing a Civil Service Commissioner. The change would require that removal is not effective without a 2/3 approval vote by City Council and a written notification to the Commissioner. The current language, which is at odds with other removal provisions in the charter, requires either of these conditions, not both.
Bay Village voters will be asked to consider these proposed amendments as five separate ballot issues in the Nov. 8 general election. Any amendment(s) receiving majority approval will become part of the city’s charter.
The Commission is currently working to finalize language explaining the amendments and their rationale. Residents can expect several mailings with more information; amendment FAQs and the Bay Village Charter text are also available on the city’s website, cityofbayvillage.com.