Xenia getting first charter review in two decades

City of Xenia. RICHARD WILSON/STAFF

Newly sworn-in members of the City of Xenia’s Charter Review Commission have begun the process to review and consider updates to the City’s Charter.

The Charter Review Commission was established with the passage of Section 8.05 of the Xenia City Charter on Nov. 6, 2018.

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“Aside from a few minor amendments, the charter has not been comprehensively reviewed and/or updated since 1998,” said Michelle Johnson, Xenia city clerk. “This new section establishes the requirement for the charter to be reviewed at least every five years, so we don’t get into this situation again.”

Members of the Charter Commission include Jeanne O’Callaghan (Chair), Chelsey Garrett (Vice Chair), Howard Horstman, Xenia Mayor Sarah Mays and Xenia Councilman Wes Smith. Former Xenia City Manager Jim Percival and former Xenia City Councilman Thomas Scrivens serve as alternates on the commission.

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The commission oversees recommending any amendments, revisions, alterations or additions, if any, to the current Xenia City Charter. Any recommendations for changes are due no later than July 1, 2020.

“There are numerous sections in the charter that need to be reviewed, and the commission may choose to make numerous amendments to various sections or recommend a complete replacement” said Johnson. “The entire charter will be reviewed … with the law director acting as their legal counsel.”

If any amendments are recommended by the commission and approved by city council, it is likely that those changes would appear on the ballot in 2020.

The Xenia city manager and finance director may serve as advisers to the commission, while the law director serves as legal counsel and the city clerk as secretary.

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“Once the commission submits their report, the lay board will be dissolved and in approximately four years, the city will begin the process of soliciting volunteers to serve and appointing them to the next Charter Review Commission, which would give the next commission about a year for review,” said Johnson.

At the commission’s first official meeting, it was determined meetings would be held at 12:30 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at the City Administration Building, 107 E. Main Street. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 6.

All meetings are open to the public. Anyone interested in the commission may contact the Xenia City Clerk’s office directly at 937-376-7235 for additional information.

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