NEWTON FALLS, Ohio (WKBN) — The political issues in Newton Falls over the past couple years have been well documented — with council members recalled and quitting, city officials fired and the police department eliminated. Now, there’s an effort to change the city charter with the end goal of making the city government run smoother.

“That charter is actually a contract between the citizens and those that govern us,” said John Richards, chair of the Charter Review Commission.

A seven-member commission made up of Newton Falls residents heard concerns and suggestions from other citizens at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Richards chairs the commission and says it’s in the early stages of planning and needs input from the public.

“What we’re looking at is, ‘Can we improve it? Can we make it more trustworthy? Can we put checks and balances that increases trust?'” Richards said.

This is Julie Lemon’s second time on the commission. One of her chief concerns is the police department.

“That was a big one that caught my eye because that Article 5, Section 3 states that we are to have a Newton Falls Police Department,” Lemon said.

At a previous meeting, city law director Brad Bryan submitted a list of subjects the commission may want to review. They include removal of council members, council seat vacancies and making changes to the police department.

Currently, there is a lawsuit against Newton Falls over the disbandment of the police department and charter requirements.

“As far as the law directors list, we appreciate that list. So far, we’ve gone through nine of those items,” Richards said. “Several of them will continue on for review.”

Before any changes can be made to the charter, voters will have to approve those changes at the ballot box in the November general election.

Residents of Newton Falls who want to make suggestions to the Charter Review Commission can do so at the meetings held at 6 p.m. every Tuesday at the city council building. The commission can also be reached via email at