In 2001 a group of citizens in Sandusky, Ohio tried to change the city government to a mayor/ward system. This site tells about that election. The site remains for others to use for research or to learn what can happen in their own fight for change.
Sanduskians for Mayor/Ward 2001
"A mayor form and ward system basically provides more direct participation from the citizens. The government becomes more proactive, more goal-oriented, because there's basically a voter referendum every four years on the city's leadership." - Kevin Zeiher
"The ward system identifies a person with a particular area of town, and he'll be more responsible to those people in that area." - Dannie Edmon
Strong Mayor and Ward System
The current city charter calls for a city commission and a city manger hired by the commission. The requested Charter Change would call for an elected mayor and a seven member city council, four of whom would represent wards and the other three members to be elected at large.
Term of Office
The terms of office for the mayor and the city council members would be for four years. Only the city council members would be subject to a two term limit.
Powers of City Council
The city council would hire the Finance Director and appoint all Department Heads. The council would vote its own raises, but the raise would not become effective until each member's next term. All other powers are the same as currently exist with the city commission.
Powers of the Mayor
The mayor would hire the Law Director with the advice and consent of the city council. The mayor would have a pocket veto, that is if the legislation of the council was not vetoed it would be automatically enacted. Further, the mayor would have a line item veto, which the council could override with a 2/3 majority.
Election of a Mayor
If the proposal passes, the Charter change will begin to take effect in November 2002 with the election of the mayor who will then take office in January 2003.
Election of the City Council Ward Representatives
Beginning in November 2003 ward elections will be held in the four wards to be designed by a Charter Committee appointed by the city commission. The wards are to be approximately equal in population and divided by using natural boundaries such as streets, roads, rivers, streams, etc.
The elected ward representatives will take office in January 2004.
The at large representatives will be elected in the same sequence as currently exists.
Items Not Covered in the Proposed Charter Change
The citizen group has not made any changes in the current term limit provision or the compensation to be received by the city council members.
It is felt, however, that the term limits need to be addressed to determine if the experience gained on the city council is of value to a more responsive city council. In addition, the compensation for the city council members is woefully inadequate for the degree of responsibility given to the city council.
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