WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – For the second time in six days, Warren City Council Tuesday afternoon voted not to pass as an emergency measure an ordinance placing a proposal to form a charter form of government on the May primary ballot. Council, however, is expected to approve it at its Jan. 25 meeting.
Tuesday’s discussion by Warren City Council on whether to place the proposal to create a charter form of government on the May ballot began with a committee meeting.
“This thing says right on the front page that this is council doing this on behalf of the city of Warren. But it’s not the truth. It is council doing it because we have to,” said councilwoman Helen Rucker.
By law, council must approve the charter issue be placed on the ballot. If it’s not passed, Warren Law Director Enzo Cantalamessa said to expect a lawsuit from the group supporting the charter.
“Which will likely result in a loss for the city of Warren based on available case law,” Cantalamessa said.
It was also suggested the filing deadline for the 15 people wanting to serve on the charter commission be extended from Feb. 1 to Feb. 28, but Cantalamessa recommended against it.
“Leave it Feb. 1. You cause no question or raise any concerns by doing so,” Cantalamessa said.
When council met later to vote, it was 4 to 4 on both extending the deadline and placing the charter on the ballot as an emergency measure, meaning both failed to pass.
Councilman Greg Greathouse voted no.
“Lack of planning on their part does not constitute an emergency on the part of the city,” Greathouse said.
“Quality and accountability,” said councilman Ken MacPherson.
MacPherson supports a charter form of government. He would like to eliminate councilmen at large, possibly look at term limits and replace the mayor with a city manager.
“Yeah, I think city managers are highly effective. Somebody with a master’s degree in public administration. A history of actually running a place and not background that they’re able to shake enough hands,” MacPherson said.
MacPherson was among the council members who voted yes. The others were Andrew Herman, Mark Forte and Cheryle Saffold. Voting no were Todd Johnson, Greg Greathouse, Ashley Minor and Helen Rucker.