Ravenna City Council President Kevin Poland said he may be forced to appoint
residents to the commission, which currently has six members.
Though the last commission convened in 1992, officials had mistakenly thought
that another review was not necessary until 1998. As a result, they have
scrambled to attract volunteers since early spring, when they recognized
``I don't want to have to tap people on the shoulders to tell them `You've
been enlisted to serve on the Charter Review Commission,'^'' Poland said
Thursday. ``But in the next couple of weeks, I'll have no alternative but
to appoint a board and ask that it convene.''
The appointments would be made essentially at random from the pool of the
city's qualified electors, Poland said. Poland has the authority to make
such appointments, according to Law Director Frank Cimino.
``Obviously we can't force someone to sit on the commission, but the charter
language says that council has the responsibility to appoint a commission
every five years,'' Cimino said. ``We're just hoping that a sense of civic
duty will prevail, and volunteers will come forward.''
Council is required by charter to assemble the commission volunteers every
five years to review the city's charter and consider whether it should be
The city's success in attracting commission members, however, has been limited.
The city's charter requires that 13 members and two alternates serve on
the commission. The commission was supposed to have been assembled by January.
Though there is no explicit date by which by the commission must submit
its recommendations to council, time is still short. Council must review
and take action to place on the ballot any amendment the commission proposes
and then submit these to the board of elections by mid-August, 75 days before
the November election.
``It's dry, thankless work,'' Poland said. ``People don't come up to you
on the street and say `Hey, thanks for working on the charter review commission.'
But the work is an important service to the community and an excellent opportunity
to learn how city government works.''
The charter has been amended at least 18 times as a result of commission
recommendations, Poland said.
Among these is a 1993 amendment requiring council to define the salary packages
of elected officials at least 30 days before the filing deadline for their
respective offices; and a 1987 amendment that changed the Finance Director's
term from one following a calender year to one that facilitated ``more sound
financial management,'' Poland said.
In 1993, voters failed to approve a commission proposal to change the city's
form of government from a strong mayor to a city manager form.
Anyone wishing to serve on the commission should send a letter of interest
that includes name, address and phone number to the attention of Tim Thomas
at Ravenna City Hall.