Cincinnatians to vote on charter changes in November

Sep 4, 2014

A Cincinnati charter amendment to remove obsolete and ambiguous language from the city's 88-year-old city charter will be on the November ballot.

Cincinnati City Council voted unanimously today for the changes recommended by a 24-member Charter Review Task Force. Council needed to act at today's meeting so the Hamilton County Board of Elections can certify it to the ballot at its meeting Monday.

Council member Kevin Flynn, who created the Charter Review Task Force, said this charter amendment, if passed by the voters, will take out obsolete references such as the city owning the University of Cincinnati and University Hospital. The city hasn't owned either institution for decades. It will also eliminate gender references such as "he" when referring to city officials.

The task force will continue its work, taking on more controversial issues such as the powers of the mayor and how city council is elected. The task force is aiming to place a second package of charter amendments on the May primary ballot next year.

Council member Christopher Smitherman voted to put the charter amendment on the ballot, but told Flynn he wants the task force and the committee Flynn chairs, Rules and Audit, to take up his proposal for Cincinnati to go to a “strong mayor” form of government, where the mayor would be the chief executive officer of the city.

Flynn said that issue would be on his committee’s agenda and part of the discussions of the task force.

Smitherman said that if council does not support putting his proposal on the ballot, he will mount a petition drive to place the “strong mayor” charter change on the May ballot.