Westlake Charter Amendments: Pros and Cons

In keeping with its mission to provide citizens with nonpartisan information about candidates and ballot issues, the Westlake/North Olmsted Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland offers the following pro and con arguments for the proposed charter amendments that will be on the Nov. 3 ballot for the city of Westlake. See your ballot or visit vote411.org for complete statements of each ballot issue.

Issue 56: Gender-neutral terminology
PRO: Brings charter up-to-date and encourages gender equity in the city’s operations.
CON: Does not address gender variance/identity as directly as may be ideal.

Issue 57: Mayoral appointments and responsibility
PRO: Consistent with 2010 Charter Amendment making the Law Director an elected, rather than appointed, position.
CON: Redundant. It is already codified that the Law Director is elected rather than appointed.

Issue 58: Acting mayor provisions
PRO: Adds specificity to mayoral replacements and mayoral elections; reduces signature requirements for mayoral candidates.
CON: Reduces citizen awareness of interested mayoral candidates; overly specific about reasons for special and run-off elections.

Issue 59: Council meeting time
PRO: Codifies a Council President responsibility that has been informally practiced.  Provides Council with more flexibility in meeting times.
CON: Establishes a single authority for meeting time decisions that could be more collegial.

Issue 60: Electronic notifications
PRO: By broadening notifications, may provide wider awareness by citizens of proposed changes.
CON: Does not specify that such postings meet specific timelines.

Issue 61: Additions to charter departments
PRO: Codifies departmental organization that is currently in use.
CON: Requires future charter amendments to alter the departmental structure.

Issue 62: Establishing Board of Building and Zoning Appeals    
PRO: Combines related activities into the responsibilities of a single board and specifies appointment conditions.
CON: Reduces number of citizens participating in city affairs; permits delayed appointments, thus limiting turnover.

Issue 63: Law director qualifications
PRO: Codifies requirements and electoral arrangements for Director of Law position. Ensures that candidates have recent experience.
CON: Does not require municipal law experience.  Reduces citizen awareness of persons who seek the position of Director of Law.

Issue 64: Renewal levy for Police and Fire Departments
PRO: Provides continuing funds that are important to the police and fire departments.
CON: May not ensure that additional expenses can be managed within budget for the five-year period.  

Issue 65: Petition signature requirements    
PRO: Eases the process for citizens desiring to run for the specified offices.
CON: May reduce citizen awareness of the persons who are interested in elective office.

Issue 66: Charter Review Commission changes
PRO: Increases citizen participation and elevates the group’s importance to the city.
CON: Reduces mayoral appointment power.

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Volume 12, Issue 19, Posted 9:53 AM, 10.06.2020