WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – A petition was filed Tuesday in Warren by the “Warren Deserves Better Charter Government Initiative.”

It’s to change the city from a statutory form of government to a charter form of government.

As a statutory government, rules and regulations on how the city operates come out of Columbus. Under a charter government, rules and regulations will be written locally.

Almost 600 people signed the petition, well over the 354 that were needed. This will put the issue on the May ballot for residents to vote on whether or not the city should form a charter commission.

“It’s time we modernized and moved into the 21st century, and a lot of it has to do with qualified leadership for the city, job descriptions that say you have to be qualified for this job,” said Tina Milner, a volunteer charter committee member.

Milner feels this form of government would benefit the citizens and says it’s been in discussion for years.

“We won’t be governed by Columbus, we’ll be governed by the community now,” Milner said.

City Councilman Ken MacPherson said he supports the legislation and believes it will benefit the city and its residents.

“We’ve talked about this for decades and decades, and it’s good to see this finally move along. This is a great citizen-people initiative. The whole thing is about the people, it’s about civic engagement,” he said.

MacPherson said this is a long two-year process, and turning in the petitions is just the beginning. First, there will be a vote in May on whether or not the city shall adopt a charter commission. If passed, there will be another vote in November to elect 15 citizens to go out and write a new form of government. Once it’s written, it would go on the November 2024 ballot for citizens to pass or reject.

“It really gives the citizens an opportunity to be engaged and look at their form of government,” he said.