Monday, October 22, 2001

Monroe charter on ballot

By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MONROE — Voters in this city along I-75 will soon be asked to help do some “housekeeping” on Monroe's city charter.

        Residents will be facing an omnibus charter amendment when they enter the voting booth Nov. 6 that would incorporate 13 recommendations to the city charter should voters pass the ballot issue.

        While the text for the amendment is longish and may look a tad intimidating in its size, its approval will likely have little impact on their lives, say city officials.

        “The only thing it may generate is more efficient government,” said Monroe City Manager Donald Whitman. “The charter amendment is more of a housekeeping item than anything. It's been about 10 years since we last did this and it is designed to make our local government operate smoothly.”

        He said that every decade, in accordance with the city charter, the mayor and council must appoint a charter review commission to review the entire city charter and submit recommendations for updates and changes. The council this year accepted 13 recommendations for the November ballot.

        They range from clarifying that the mayor and vice mayor serve two-year terms to changing the title of the head of the Department of Finance from treasurer to finance director.

        That wouldchange the appointing of that person from city council to the city manager, with the approval of council.

        The amendment would also increase the Monroe Personnel Board — a civil service commission — from three to five members serving five- rather than three-year terms.

        Another portion of the amendment would extend probationary periods for some new city employees beyond the current six-month period.

        Mr. Whitman said he is optimistic that voters will approve the wide-ranging charter amendment and believes the many other local issues on the ballot will attract a sizable turnout.

        The cost to residents should the amendment pass?

        “Not a dime,” he said.


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