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Group discusses city charter revision

David Caswell led a discussion on revising the city's charter at the East Side Business Association meeting March 7. Caswell distributed a document prepared by the League of Women Voters after an informal review of the charter was conducted in 2009.

"The recommendation at the time was that the charter needed some amendments but not an overall revision," according to Rhina Griffel, a member of the women's group.

The city charter was developed in the early 1970s and updated in 1995.

The league said they support a strong mayor and city council elected on a non-partisan basis. The review also approved providing city council with power to override a mayoral veto by a two-thirds vote.

The league endorsed a direct line of responsibility and accountability be established for all departments along with an accountable financial structure under the jurisdiction of the mayor.

The document listed concerns that included litigation by vendors, employees and citizens and the role of the city attorney.

After defining their concerns the league met with several persons involved in updating the charter and asked if they believed the revised charter has been effective and asked if there should be additional changes.

The majority of those interviewed believed the charter needed only to be amended — not rewritten. Caswell said he agreed with that assessment.

The report concluded with the statement that citizens have the ultimate responsibility for city governance and recommended that city council review the charter periodically and make any changes they deem advisable. The report also advocated the city's master plan be maintained.

Dan Smith commented that a lot has happened since the League of Women Voters' review was written.

"It's time to look at what is best for the city. We can't afford a mayor and council. We need one person from each ward to sit down and look at the charter. Let's put in on the ballot and let the people decide," Smith said.

Dale Scanlon reported on Gov. Rick Snyder's appearance at City Hall earlier in the day. Scanlon said Snyder promoted a Flint lockup and more state police troopers on city streets. Snyder proposed $4.5 million to go to Flint for additional jail space, including a plan to reopen the city lockup.

Scanlon reported that members of Occupy Flint were at the governor's meeting, but they failed to show up at the East Side Business Association meeting where they were scheduled to speak.

 

 

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