All six charter review proposals approved easily

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comNovember 6, 2012 

Muscogee County voters comfortably approved a set of six proposed changes to the city’s charter.

With almost all the votes counted Tuesday night, the six proposals held leads ranging from 76-24 percent to 60-40 percent for approval.

This year’s commission chairman, John Shinkle, said he was pleased that the proposals appeared headed to victory, and that it is a reflection of the hard work done by the commission.

“We had a good commission made up of 25 people who well represented a cross section of the community,” Shinkle said Tuesday night. “It’s really satisfying that they’re all doing well.”

The six proposals that voters approved, along with vote percentages at press time, are:

* To add a third manner in which top city executives can be dismissed. Currently, and under the proposal, executives can be fired by seven votes of council or by the mayor’s recommendation and six votes of council.

The proposed amendment would allow the mayor to fire top executives, who could then appeal to council. If six councilors agree with the dismissal, it would stand. Otherwise, the executive would keep his or her job.

The amendment also lists those officials to which it would apply: the city manager, city attorney, police chief, fire chief and county prison warden. The internal auditor was originally among those affected, but the commission voted to remove that position from the list. 62-38 percent for approval.

* To change the wording in the section dealing with Columbus Council’s responsibilities, requiring council to meet at least twice a month. 76-24 percent for approval.

* To require that council district lines be determined by a decennial districting commission, subject to council approval, and that the final grand jury of each decennial year nominate four voters from each of the eight council districts for the commission. 65-35 percent for approval.

* To provide that if a state law applies to both cities and counties, council would have the power to choose to apply the option that is more beneficial to Columbus. 64-36 percent for approval.

* To prohibit any former mayor or former councilor from holding any compensated appointed office in the Consolidated Government until a year after his or her term of office expires. 70-30 percent for approval.

*To allow employees of the Consolidated Government to seek and hold elected office in counties other than Muscogee. They are currently prohibited from holding any elected office. 60-40 percent for approval.

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