The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

November 3, 2010

Charter issues see mixed results

Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — Charter government in Conneaut will get a slight overhaul, while charter issues in Ashtabula received a mixed reaction in Tuesday’s general election.

The biggest change comes in Conneaut, where voters overwhelming approved four separate charter amendments, including a return to two-year terms, based on unofficial results. Each of the amendments succeeded by an unofficial 70 to 79 percent of the vote.

In addition to the two-year terms, voters in Conneaut agreed to spell out in greater detail the City Council vote needed to fire a city manager, and also gave council a say in the hiring and firing of the city law director and finance director. Specifically, the latter changes now will specify the city manager will act on the law and finance director positions with the “advice and consent of a majority vote of the elected members of council.”

Previously, the manager had final say on those administrative positions.

Also, new language will clarify the vote needed to remove a city manager. The charter will be rewritten to stipulate the manager “shall be removed by majority vote of the elected members of council.”

The two-year terms will launch with next year’s election of Conneaut’s four ward seats. All seven seats will be up for election in November 2013, effectively ending the staggered terms in effect for the past few years.

In Ashtabula, residents split on two charter amendments designed to align Ashtabula’s charter with state law regarding approval dates, officials said. One issue geared to elections succeeded by a unofficial 2,472-1,607 count, while the second pertaining to the city income tax was upended by a 2,080-1,961 margin.

The amendments were changes in wording to mesh Ashtabula’s charter with state law and accommodate the Ashtabula County Board of Elections, said City Solicitor Michael Franklin. Ashtabula’s charter contains language that differs from the Ohio Revised Code, he said, including the timetable required for Board of Elections approval.

Staff writer Shelley Terry contributed to this article.