In the world of cities, Kent is considered a “Home Rule” City which means we took the statutory authority granted to us by the State of Ohio to govern our piece of Ohio, and with the approval of Kent voters added local flavor by crafting a City Charter that spells out the who, what, where, when and how for managing government services in the Kent community.
The City Charter is the touchstone and legal basis for just about everything we do as a city so it’s an important document that needs to stay current with the sentiments of the people that call Kent home and rely on City services in one form or another.
That’s why every 10 years the Kent City Council appoints a group of interested residents to take the plunge and dive into the details of the Kent City Charter to make sure it still reflects the values and expectations of the residents of Kent.
With such an important task at hand, the residents volunteer to be a part of the Charter Review Commission and after completing their study they will submit a series of recommendations for possible Charter changes for City Council to consider putting on the ballot for Kent voters to formally give a thumbs up or thumb down at the next election.
The Charter Review is an open, public process with ample opportunities to weigh-in on topics. And ultimately you make the final decision as you vote to accept to decline any of the proposals that come out of this process on election day.
The City Charter has been in place for decades so at this point it doesn’t necessarily change all that much. Good governments provide stability and continuity in a community so rarely are there dramatic swings in city charters — but in the spirit of staying meaningful and impactful Kent opens the Charter up for public dialogue and that process has just kicked-off the 2015 Charter Review campaign.
Council has made their appointments and there’s been one Charter Review Commission Rules Sub-Committee meeting so far with more planned in the weeks that follow. Since the best dialogue tends to benefit from good information, I thought I’d pass along the information that came out of the initial meeting so that you can follow along at home
To get things off on the right track (and to help ensure they stay on track), the Commission begins by establishing the ground rules which they’ll use to manage the review process. It’s not the most exciting thing they’ll do but rules and procedures become pretty important in public discussions where opinions can be all over the map yet consensus has to eventually be found.
The rules help keep the issues the focus of attention. Here’s the links to the minutes of the first meeting and the rules that they’ll use moving forward.
Lastly, I’ve provided the agenda for their next meeting: