Council Wraps Up Revisions to City Charter

HCC Charter Review
The Hermiston City Council discusses proposed changes to the city charter during a work session Monday night.

[quote style=”2″]Proposed Changes to Go Before Voters in May 2015[/quote]

The Hermiston City Council finished up work on proposed changes to the city charter during a work session Monday night.

The council will now begin a public outreach campaign to preview the proposed changes and get feedback before Hermiston residents vote on the new charter in May 2015.

The biggest changes the council is proposing include extending the term of the mayor from two years to four, and making the municipal court judge and appointed position rather than an elected position.

The length of the mayor’s term took up most of Monday’s work session with much of the discussion centering on when to hold the first four-year term election. The council initially agreed to make the mayor’s position a four-year term beginning in 2018, but decided on Monday to move it up to 2016.

“If we’re going to do a four-year term, why wait four years from now?” asked Councilor John Kirwan.

Councilor Doug Primmer, however, opposes extending the mayor’s term to four years.

“I heartily believe it should be every two years,” he said.

The only other major change to the charter would be having the Hermiston municipal court judge be appointed and removed by the council instead of by voters.

Hermiston voters will have the final say on the proposed changes to the city charter. Hermiston City Manager Byron Smith has scheduled a pair of public outreach meetings for Jan. 8 and Jan. 20. On Jan. 26, the council will review input from the public and will refer the proposed charter to the ballot in February. The election will take place on May 19, 2015.

Attorney Chad Jacobs, who has been working with the city on the proposed changes, praised the council for its work in updating the charter.

“I want to compliment you guys on the process,” he said. “You did a great job.”

Hermiston Mayor Dave Drotzmann said it had been more than 50 years since the city charter was last updated.

“Hopefully this will last another 50 years,” he said.

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