Rocky River Charter – Ballot Issue Explanation

ROCKY RIVER CHARTER – BALLOT ISSUES

ISSUE 35 Shall Article III, Section 7 of the Charter of the City of Rocky River be amended to extend the time for the remaining members of Council to fill a vacancy on Council from thirty (30) to sixty (60) days?

INTENT: If the remaining members of Council are in a position to fill a vacancy on Council, the consensus is that 30 days is too short of a time in which to provide public notice of the vacancy, receive applications, and conduct interviews in filling the vacancy. Sixty days was recommended as an appropriate period of time for this purpose.

ISSUE 36Shall Article V, Section 2 of the Charter of the City of Rocky River be amended to provide that the Civil Service Commission shall adopt rules and regulations in accordance with the powers of home rule authority granted by the Ohio Constitution, and as approved by Council, on all matters of examination of merit and fitness for the appointment, promotion, transfer, layoff, reinstatement, suspension and removal of officers and employees of the City; and to provide that failure of Council to act within forty-five (45) days shall constitute an approval of the same?

INTENT: As a Charter City, the City of Rocky River has authority under the Ohio Constitution for what is known as “home rule” to deviate from the Ohio Revised Code on certain provisions of administrative activities. Amending the Charter to give authority to the Civil Service Commission, with approval by City Council, to adopt or revise rules and regulations for Civil Service employees without amending the Charter each time there is a recommendation to modify the rules and regulations, provides a much more expedient and efficient manner of implementing such revisions.

ISSUE 37Shall Article VI, Section 2 of the Charter of the City of Rocky River be amended to repeal Council’s authority to review any decision to grant a variance by the Board of Zoning and Building Appeals?

INTENT: The current provision in the Charter, giving City Council the discretion to hear anew any decision granting a variance by the City Board of Zoning and Building Appeals (BZA), contains numerous constitutional deficiencies. First of all, there is a failure to provide equal protection of the law, in that an objector could ask for a new hearing before Council on a variance that had been granted, while the variance applicant has no such opportunity to rehear a variance that has not been granted. Additionally, the current provisions lack the required substantive standards which must be applied in any decision concerning actions on variances, as are contained in our Codified Ordinances for BZA actions. Also, the hearing before City Council is not as a review on appeal, but the councilmanic action shall be as if a new process is being implemented, without any regard to any BZA decision that had previously been made. This Charter provision has not been exercised in more than fifteen years.

ISSUE 38Shall Article X, Section 6 of the Charter of the City of Rocky River be amended to provide that all meetings or hearings, shall include any meeting or hearing by means of electronic technology if circumstances of public health or safety emergencies exist?

INTENT: This amendment is consistent with what the Ohio General Assembly had adopted during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was to allow the definition and purpose of open meetings to include on-line meetings and decision making, such as “Zoom” or “WebEx”, as long as the public also had access to such electronic meetings. This amendment would allow such electronic meetings only with the existence of similar health or safety emergencies as created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

ISSUE 39Shall Article X, Section 6 of the Charter of the City of Rocky River be amended to create new subsection (7) to permit Council to hold an executive session to consider confidential information related to the marketing plans, specific business strategy, production techniques, trade secrets, or personal financial statements of an applicant for economic development assistance, and matters related therefor?

INTENT: This provision will add an additional subject matter for confidential discussion by City Council in what is known as “executive session” outside of public open meeting process. This amendment would adopt the language consistent with the Ohio Revised Code regarding an applicant who engages the City in economic development. The confidential nature of matters regarding economic development discussed in “executive session” have the intended purpose of not giving anyone an unfair opportunity to the detriment of either the developer, the City, or the economic project if such matters were discussed in an open meeting. Other “executive session” matters include discussion of employee appointment or discipline, attorney discussion about litigation, purchase of real estate, status of collective bargaining negotiations, or the details of security arrangements, or other matters that are required to be kept confidential by federal or other state law.

ISSUE 40Shall Article X of the Charter of the City of Rocky River be amended to create new Section 7 to provide that Council shall provide by ordinance, a process for posting by electronic means or other compatible method of posting, all notices or reports for agendas, meetings, hearings and all actions taken for or by City Council and all Boards and Commissions for which the Charter requires notification to the public?

INTENT: The current Charter only allows for print copy of public notices and other legislative activities. This amendment will allow for postings to also include electronic means of those notices and activities on the City’s website.

Rocky River Ballot information from: www.rrcity.com/rocky-river-blog/2020/10/1/rocky-river-charter-ballot-issue-explanation

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