To change the city charter or not, voters decide in November

BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Clarkston News Editor
Clarkston voters can change the City Charter in November. City Council voted 6-0, May 13, to approve a resolution placing the questions on the ballot.
One proposed amendment would remove a requirement for council members seeking election to mayor, or mayor running for a council seat to resign first.
“The primary rationale for such requirement, possible misuse of legislative office resources or neglect of office duties while campaigning is inapplicable in our small government and can unnecessarily remove experienced council members,” the Committee Report stated.
The requirement was an issue during last year’s election when current Mayor Eric Haven resigned his seat on City Council in order to run for mayor. The amendment was written to be as clear and objective as possible, Arkwright said.
Another proposed amendment would allow any council member, not just the mayor, to nominate a resident for appointment or reappointment to the Zoning Board of Appeals or Board of Review.
“Currently, a mayor, without showing cause, can simply refuse to place a resident’s name before the council for appointment or reappointment. This denies the full council any chance to even vote on the appointment or reappointment of an otherwise qualified resident or sitting board member whom a council majority may believe is best for the position,” the report stated.
The third amendment would expand the city audit delivery deadline to six months from the close of the fiscal year. The current charter requires an independence audit be completed within 90 days after the close of the fiscal year.
“The city’s current auditor has informed the city that it is impractical to deliver a thorough professional audit in such a short time frame,” according to the report.
The amendments will be submitted to the governor and state attorney general for approval, then voters would have their say at the Nov. 5, 2019, election.
City Council created the committee last December, with Steve Arkwright serving as chair. Bill Basinger, Richard Little, David Marsh, James Meloche, Scott Meyland, and Jonathan Smith, rounded out the committee.