Charter proposal could contain appointed city manager, elected clerk

Published: Friday, December 27, 2013 at 04:11 PM.

Helt has supported a city manager form of government at least since 2009, when she served on a citizens advisory committee that evaluated the current 1960s city charter.

She said she is "willing to concede an elected city clerk instead of an appointed city clerk. Voters resisted a provision for an appointed clerk in a recent proposed charter. Retaining an elected city clerk was also one of the charter review committee's recommendations.

To bring public safety under the city manager's authority, the charter would have to be changed to remove the police and fire departments from the mayor's purview.

Voters have consistently rejected a city manager form of government six times since it was first voted on in 1957.

A November 2012 revised charter ballot item was rendered moot by a clerical error but was discovered too late to remove it from the printed ballot.

Though their vote was non-binding, 72 percent of registered voters — a record turnout for the charter issue — voted on the measure anyway, defeating the proposal 4,319 to 3,795.

Following the defeat, the council suggested presenting the city administrator and clerk provisions — which had generated the most opposition — and the balance of the proposed charter in a "menu" of three components.

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