Article 8 — Charter Review and Amendments

Section 8.10 Charter Review Commission

This charter shall be reviewed periodically by a charter review commission as provided in this article.

Section 8.20 Election and Period of Office

Five years after the adoption of this charter and every ten years thereafter, the county council shall cause an election of a charter review commission, hereinafter referred to as the commission. The commission shall consist of fifteen persons, an equal number from each council district. There shall be no filing fee nor shall there be a primary. The election shall be held at the November general election and candidates shall run on a nonpartisan basis. The member of the commission who receives the greatest number of votes shall convene the commission. The term of office shall be one year. The commission may meet at such times and in such places as it deems appropriate.

Section 8.30 Vacancy

Any vacancy on the commission shall be filled by the remaining members of the commission within thirty days; provided, that within fourteen days of the declaration of a vacancy, notice shall be given to the residents of the district in which the vacancy occurs in such manner as the commission in its discretion deems advisable. Selection of the person to fill the vacancy shall be from those residing in the district in which there is a vacancy by a simple majority vote of the commission.

Section 8.40 Procedures

The commission shall review the charter to determine its adequacy and suitability to the needs of the county and may propose amendments. Members of the commission shall serve without salary, but shall be reimbursed for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses. The county council shall provide the commission with reasonable funds, facilities and services appropriate to an elected agency.

Section 8.50 Charter Amendments — General Provisions

Charter amendments may be proposed by the commission, the county council or by the public. Any proposed charter amendment shall be filed and registered with the officer in charge of holding elections and submitted to the voters at the next November general election occurring at least ninety days after registration of the proposed amendment with such officer. If more than one amendment is submitted on the same ballot, they shall be submitted in such a manner that the people may vote for or against the amendments separately; provided, an amendment which embraces a single or inter-related subject may be submitted as a single proposition even though it is composed of changes to different sections of one or more articles.

If a proposed amendment is approved by a majority of the voters voting on the issues, it shall be effective ten days after the results of the election are certified, unless a later date is specified in the amendment. Any implementing ordinance required by any charter amendment shall be enacted by the council within one hundred and eighty days after the amendment is effective, unless the amendment provides otherwise.

Section 8.60 Amendments by the Charter Review Commission

The commission may propose amendments to the charter by filing such proposed amendments with the county council who shall submit the amendment to the officer in charge of holding elections.

Section 8.70 Amendments by the Public

Any member of the public may propose amendments to the charter in accordance with this section. A petitioner shall first file the full text of the proposed amendment with the officer in charge of holding elections who shall give the proposed amendment a number, which shall thereafter be the identifying number for the amendment, and shall transmit a copy of the proposal to the Prosecuting Attorney, who within ten working days of the filing date, shall formulate a concise statement, posed as a positive question, not to exceed fifty words, which shall express and give a true and impartial statement which shall be the ballot title. The prosecuting attorney shall file the ballot title with the officer in charge of holding elections, who shall provide notice of the ballot title to the petitioner. The ballot title shall be subject to appeal in accordinance with state law. Within fifteen working days after the ballot title is filed with the officer in charge of holding elections or, if the ballot title is appealed, within five working days after a final decision of the court, the officer in charge of holding elections shall confer with the petitioner to review and establish the form and style of the amendment petition as required by such officer.

The petitioner shall have one hundred twenty days from the day after such officer confers with the petitioner as to form and style of the amendment petition to collect the signatures of the registered voters of the county equal in number to not less than twenty percent of the number of votes cast in the the county in the last governor’s election. Each petition shall contain the warning clause prescribed by state law, the full text of the proposed amendment and the ballot title.

The officer in charge of holding elections shall verify the sufficiency of the signatures on the petition and, if it is validated, submit the proposal to the people at the next general election being not less than one hundred twenty days from the submission of the petition for signature verification.

(Amended during General Election, Nov. 7, 2006, Eff date Jan. 1, 2007).

Section 8.80 Amendments by the County Council

The county council may propose amendments to the charter by enacting an ordinance to submit a proposed amendment to the voters at the next November general election occurring at least ninety days after enactment. A minimum of four affirmative votes shall be required to enact such an ordinance. An ordinance proposing an amendment to the charter shall not be subject to the veto power of the county executive.