GREEN Voters will decide Nov. 6 whether the city’s law director position should remain an appointed position, or be an elected one.
City Council on Aug. 28 authorized the Summit County Board of Elections to place a proposed charter amendment on the general election ballot asking make the city law director an elected position, with a requirement of residency within the city.
Interim Law Director William Chris said Council was required to approve the ordinance, since the 1,200 signatures collected met the board of elections’ requirement for placing the issue on the ballot. Several council members, however, expressed concern with the ballot language.
Ward 3 Councilman Rocco Yeargin said the city charter calls for the law director, appointed by the mayor and approved by a two-thirds majority of council, to have five years’ municipal law experience, and does not require residency.
In a recent Suburbanite article, representatives from Citizens for Responsible Green Government, the group spearheading the charter amendment effort, were quoted as stating that there are "390 lawyers registered with the Ohio Supreme Court whose licenses are included in the several zip codes within Green," but did not indicate the number of those who reside within the city limits of Green or have the required municipal law experience.
"I fear (the proposed amendment) turns a reservoir of applicants to a puddle," Yeargin said.
Likewise, Council President Chris Humphrey pointed to errors in the initial proposal, which called for adding a new section to the charter, since the section proposed to be amended was not actually in the charter.
"I don’t think this proposal is well thought out," Humphrey said. "And (the city charter) is our founding document."
At-large Councilman Stephen Dyer said that in his experience, cities with elected law directors, such as Barberton, Stow and Westlake, have had more efficient law departments than those with appointed law directors.
"This is not asking for something crazy," Dyer said.
Chris weighed in on the commentary, stating that an elected law director is "not a good idea," in part because of the forced turnover every six years.
"If they are lucky enough to be re-elected, they are looking for another job (in the second term)," Chris said.
- Council also directed the Summit County Board of Elections to place a proposed city charter amendment on the Nov. 6 ballot to establish a May primary election date for municipal elections in order to reduce the cost of primary elections and "uphold the voting rights of all citizens of Green."
- Council members also approved an ordinance declaring a portion of improvements on property owned by Boettler Farm Limited to be a public purpose, establishing a 30-year, 100 percent tax increment financing agreement with the property owner.
- The Kleckner Baseball Fields project was appropriated $100,000 from the city’s Pipeline Settlement Fund for the planning and construction of baseball fields at the former Kleckner School property, to replace Greensburg Field 4, which is being vacated due to its proximity to the newly constructed Nexus Pipeline.
- Council members voted to amend the city’s codified ordinances regarding major subdivisions to increase the one-year bond requirement to two years; require developers to pay for traffic signage associated with projects; and require approval of bond agreements and final inspections by the city planning director, engineer, and service director. Prior to this amendment, the planning director alone had this authority.