COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT CHARTERS
As a citizen of New Franklin Ohio you may be curious about the experience of other communities in regard to anti-charter arguments, or what could be referred to as common misconceptions about charters.
You may hear that a charter automatically means a manager form of government. This is simply not so. The commission elected by the voters will decide upon a mayor-council, manager, or commission form of government.
The Anti-Civil Service Argument.
Groups of city employees of other municipalities have feared that their status under civil service will be jeopardized. Again this is a misconception, since the Ohio Constitution requires all cities to have a merit system. A charter may simplify procedures and make the civil service system function more effectively, but it cannot and will not abolish civil service.
The Cost And No Repeal Arguments.
Some opponents of charters have claimed that once a charter is adopted it is costly to change and there is no way to get rid of it. An election to amend a charter is no more costly than other elections, and if amendments are submitted at a primary or general election the additional costs are slight. Furthermore, the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that municipal charters may be repealed through an election on the issue to abolish the charter.
FINAL CONSIDERATIONS ABOUT CHARTER ADOPTION
The Charter As A Means To Local Flexibility.
There are many factors that could be discussed relating to charters. One important point to remember is the fact that whether a charter commission or a charter is adopted is a matter of peculiar local concern. The purpose of Article XVIII, Section 7, Ohio Constitution, is to permit local citizens to provide their own form of government and their own procedures which meet their approval and meet their needs in a manner that may be different from those provided under the state laws.
The chief advantage of a municipal charter is the fact that it is flexible. It is flexible in that it may be amended from time to time as circumstances and the values of the community change. It is certainly more flexible than the state statutes since changes are made upon a vote of the electors of the municipality and need not come before the members of the General Assembly who represent other districts whose problems are not necessarily the same nor opinions and values closely oriented to the community's needs.
Charter Adoption - A Local Decision.
Whether or not a charter is to be adopted deserves the careful attention of all leaders and residents in the community. A well balanced charter commission representing all points of view within the community and a carefully drafted charter document can produce an organization of municipal government for your city or village that is far superior to that contained in the state law. However, a charter may, if the decisions contained in it and if the procedures and language to implement those decisions are poorly formed, provide less effective government than you may now enjoy. The decision obviously remains with the citizens and leaders of each community to decide the course of action to be taken.