Election preview: Five proposed charter amendments will go to Ravenna voters on Nov. 8

Ravenna City Hall. Ben Wolford/The Portager

Per city charter, Ravenna’s Charter Review Commission meets every five years. This was the year, and the commission submitted five changes city voters would have to approve.

We spoke with City Council President Andrew Kluge to understand what each measure would mean for residents.

Issue 11

To clarify the responsibilities of the mayor city council regarding the presentation and approval of the city’s annual budget.

This amendment simply codifies a procedure already in place, Kluge said, noting that the mayor has and will continue to present the city’s annual budget for council’s consideration.

Issue 12

To allow city council meetings to take place in person, virtually, or in a hybrid manner.

Kluge said this amendment would only come into play in emergency situations. As always, council’s first intent is to meet in person, but “Covid is a prime example,” he said.

“It doesn’t mean that if somebody’s out on vacation or on a last-minute work trip, that they’re going to meet virtually. That would not meet that emergency as we might define it,” he clarified.

Issue 13

To provide for annual review of employee salaries and bonds.

Salary reviews for council members, the mayor and city law director have sometimes been put off for more than five years, so codifying annual reviews is a step in the right direction, Kluge said. Upon reviewing the salaries, council could recommend changes but could not indiscriminately authorize them.

“I’m glad they added that. It’s always a little awkward to review your own salary, but I think it’s important that we do, and at least once a year it should be reviewed,” he said.

Issue 14

To reduce the composition of the Charter Review Commission and require a Commission secretary.

With 13 charter commission seats to fill, it’s no surprise that finding enough volunteers has sometimes been difficult. This charter amendment would reduce the size of the commission from 13 to nine members, with two alternates, Kluge said.

The amendment is written to give the clerk of city council first right of refusal as commission secretary. If the council clerk, for whatever reason, decides not to act as commission secretary, council could appoint a secretary at the same rate of pay. The appointed member would not be a member of the commission and would have to be knowledgeable about how meetings should be conducted, Kluge said.

Issue 15

To provide a chairperson for the Charter Review Commission

Kluge said the Charter Review Commission members requested permission to elect a chairperson who would set agenda items for each meeting, moderate the meetings and act as the commission’s liaison to city council. The position does not currently exist.

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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.