North Royalton voters will be able to decide if proposed amendments to the City’s Charter should be passed in the November 3 election. A City’s Charter defines the organization, functions, powers and essential procedures of the local government, as a constitution does for a country.
The Charter Review Commission’s recommendations were approved in the form of ordinances at the July 7 City Council meeting. The committee, that has been meeting since March, made their recommendations to City Council and the ordinances have now been adopted to place the measures on the November 3 ballot.
Every four years, the Mayor and City Council appoint a committee of nine qualified voters in the city, to review the City’s Charter. That committee, along with the city’s Law Director, review the current charter and make recommendations to Council, for any additions, deletions or amendments that may ultimately be placed on the ballot of the next regularly scheduled election. The city’s department heads also can offer recommendations of items to be considered. The recommendations must then be passed by the voters to become a part of the newly formulated charter.
The following ordinances were unanimously adopted and will now be proposed amendments that will be placed on the November ballot:
Ordinance 20-91, an amendment to Article III, The Council, to allow Council to meet remotely or suspend, or postpone meetings during declared emergencies that encompass the City of North Royalton;
Ordinance 20-92, an amendment to the City Charter creating a new Article VII, Department of Public Safety and Repealing the existing Article VII, Police and Fire Department, establishing a new safety department and changing the manner of choosing candidates for Fire and Police Chiefs;
Ordinance 20-93, an amendment to Article X Municipal Cemetery in order to identify the officer responsible for the administration of the municipal cemetery;
Ordinance 20-94, an amendment to Article XVI, Finance to allow Council the discretion to waive public bidding in the event of an emergency and to select the lowest and/or best bidder when appropriate.
To see the full ordinance and amendments therein, go to, go to the Government section, then click on Council Office. In a box on the right side of the screen, under “Legislation”, click on 2020. The ordinances are listed there. A more in-depth article regarding the Charter will be published in the September 3 edition.
At the July 7 Council meeting, Law Director Tom Kelly, who assisted the committee, stated that Council was required to adopt the legislation that would place the charter amendments on the November ballot. He noted that their affirmative vote did not approve or refuse the issues, but merely to offer them to the voters.
Members of the Charter Review Commission were chosen and approved by the North Royalton City Council at their March 3 meeting. The North Royalton Charter states that, “the Mayor shall appoint five (5) members to the Charter Review Commission and Council, by majority vote, shall appoint four (4) members to the Charter review Commission. Each member appointed by the Mayor or Council shall have been a resident and qualified elector of the municipality for at least three (3) continuous years immediately prior to his/her appointment, and shall continue to be a resident throughout his/her term of office.
The Charter states that the Commission must submit its amendments, revisions and alterations to Council on or before June 1; however, according to Council records, that did not happen, as they were submitted in early July. When asked why the June 1 deadline date wasn’t adhered to, Kelly said that the section of the Charter in question, Section eighteen, was last amended in November of 2001. “At that time the rotation scheme for the Commission was established. At that time and until recently a Commission was the product of the appointments of a sitting Mayor and Council. The appointments were made in November and they were expected to conclude their work by June of the next year,” He noted that section eighteen “speaks of the issues being certified to the Board of Elections …….. for placement on the ballot for election at the next general election following appointment. The clear import is that the Commission’s work product should be on (sic) presented to the voters at the general election following their appointment.” He goes on to say that the Charter reads: ‘All proposed amendments, revisions and alterations to this Charter, approved by a majority vote of any Charter Review Commission (CRC), shall be submitted to the Council on or before June 1 of the year following appointment of the Charter Review Commission which shall submit the same without alteration to the electors for their approval or rejection on a separate ballot at the next general election in November following the appointment of the members of the Charter Review Commission.’ “The overall expectation was that the CRC would be appointed in November. This most recent CRC was not appointed until February but the intent is that the issues they are to present to the electors is to be at the general election next following their appointment which in this case is this November. While I would have liked to have been able to get the ordinances ready for the June 1 date, I had been otherwise engaged and therein lies the delay. Nonetheless the proposed amendments were recently presented to Council in a manner that will insure that they will appear on the November ballot. I hasten to add that the Charter mandates that the CRC’s efforts go to the voters “without alteration” and that therefor the Council was constrained to serve as a conduit for the delivery of those proposals. In that sense the June 1 date has little meaning as the Council has nothing to say about the actual content of those proposals.”
The four proposed charter amendments will be submitted by the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections September 4 deadline to be placed on the November ballot.

Contributing Writer