Dear Editor,

Every seven years the Mayor of Green personally selects a commission to review our charter (the City’s version of the “Constitution”) to propose changes to be voted on in the November General Election, and this is one of those years.

At the last council meeting, the mayor introduced his committee’s changes, one of which, will give the city the right to “dictate” ballot language for citizen initiatives, which are the people’s right to make changes to their government when their government fails to act or acts against the people’s wishes, and now, the city wants to “dictate” the ballot language that is normally written by the bipartisan Summit County Board of Elections. 

This is like letting the fox guard the henhouse. The initiative process is the same process that was used to stop Racinos several years ago, which is a good reminder that this is an important option for citizens to have. They should be able to utilize the initiative process without concern that the ballot language can be manipulated if the city is not in favor of the idea they are putting forth. 

My concern over this amendment is heightened because this change is clearly in response to several members of the mayor's commission following his lead and not supporting Issue No. 14, which was the citizen-lead initiative to elect our law director. The business of the Charter Review Commission is to solve problems in our charter, not make recommendations that are personal in nature and hinder the citizens’ rights to address problems in their government. 

When I ran for Council, I ran on the slogan, “your voice at city hall,” and I want you to know, I used my voice to speak out against this government overreach. Now, as I run for mayor, my slogan is “a Mayor for the People.”  To me, a mayor for the people would never sit silently in approval of such an amendment. I want a Green that respects its citizens' wishes and doesn’t try to gain an advantage over them. Please view the video of the public hearing on all the proposed charter amendments at the city's website and let your council representatives know how you feel about the proposed amendments to be placed on the ballot this November. 

Sincerely,

Matt Shaughnessy

Green Ward 4 Council and candidate for Mayor