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Charter Review For Tacoma: The Process Begins
The City of Tacoma is gearing up to begin the substantial undertaking known as Charter Review.
The Charter of the City of Tacoma lays out the rules for the operation of pretty much every aspect of the City in 21 pages. It lays out the workings of the legislative and administrative branches, public utilities, personnel, and matters of general finance. It makes for pretty dry reading, but it's the document that shapes what can be done in the governing of our city, and who has the authority to do it.
At this week's City Council study session staff laid out the proposed framework for beginning the process. Staff recommends the creation of a Charter Review Committee consisting of 15 Tacoma residents, including one youth member. The suggestion for identifying those 15 individuals is that the Mayor and each Council Member recommend one member, with the Mayor appointing the Chair of the Committee, and the Government Performance and Finance Committee recommending the remaining six members.
The committee openings would be advertised, and applications taken through year end 2013. Committee members would be appointed in January, and begin digging in to the review process. Committee recommendations would be made by May 2014, and go to Council to be placed on the ballot in November.
Changes that came out of the last charter review process in 2004 included amendments to allow for the recall of any elected officer of the City, to allow City employees to hold other public offices, and changes regarding initiative petitions and referendums, among others.
Items to be reviewed by the committee could come from a number of sources: the City Attorney; City Council; staff; various committees, boards, and commissions; interested organizations; or the general public. The City will be creating a charter review website and finalizing processes in the coming weeks, and it's time to start thinking about how Tacoma is run.
Do you want to see a strong mayor system in Tacoma? What would you like to see reviewed? Would you want to be on the charter review committee?
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