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 8.11 Election and Period of Office.

At least every ten (10) years after the adoption of this Charter, the County Council shall cause an election of a Charter Review Commission, hereinafter referred to as the Commission. The Commission shall consist of fifteen (15) persons, an equal number from each Council district. There shall be no filing fee nor shall there be a primary. The qualified voters of the respective districts shall vote only for candidates from their district at the general election. Candidates’ names shall appear on all ballots as drawn by lot. 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 shall meet at such times and in such places as it deems appropriate upon having given public notice. (Amended by referendum 1986; Amended by ballot measure 1993 [refer to Ord. 93-045]; Amended by referendum 1995).

Section 8.12 Vacancy.

Any vacancy on the Commission shall be filled within fourteen days of the declaration of a vacancy, by the next highest recipient of votes cast in the Charter Review Commissioner election from the district where the vacancy occurs.

If a Commissioner is absent from three (3) consecutive meetings without prior notice being given to the Chair, a vacancy in that position may be declared by a two-thirds vote of the Commissioners. (Amended by referendum 1986).

Section 8.13 Procedures.

The Commission shall review the Charter to determine its adequacy and suitability to the needs of the county and may propose amendments. The Commission may also make recommendations to the County Council and publish its findings. Members of the Commission shall serve without salary, but shall be reimbursed for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses. The Council shall provide to the Commission reasonable funds, facilities and services appropriate to an elected county agency. Provisions for expenditures shall be made in the budget. Expenditures of the Commission shall be budgeted for their scheduled term of office.

Section 8.20 Charter Amendment – 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 Auditor and submitted to the voters at the next November general election occurring at least ninety (90) days after registration of the proposed amendment with the Auditor. 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 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 (10) days after the results of the election are certified, unless a later date is specified in the petition or ordinance proposing the amendment. Any implementing ordinance required by any Charter amendment shall be enacted by the Council within one hundred and eighty (180) days after the amendment is effective, unless the amendment provides otherwise. (Amended by Ord. 2005-075 Exh. A).

Section 8.21 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 voters at the next November general election at least ninety (90) days after the filing and registration of the amendments. A supermajority (ten of fifteen) of affirmative votes of the entire membership shall be required to file a proposed amendment with the County Council. (Amended by referendum 2015).

Section 8.22 Amendments by the Public.

The public may propose amendments to the Charter by registering with the Auditor an initiative petition bearing the signatures of registered voters of the county equal in number to, but not less than, fifteen (15) percent of the number of votes cast in the county in the last gubernatorial election. Signatures shall be registered not more than one hundred twenty (120) days following filing of the petition with the Auditor, who shall submit the amendments to the voters. The one hundred and twenty (120) day period shall begin upon receipt of official notification to petitioner(s) by the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office either by certified mail or messenger. If the last day for collecting signatures falls on a weekend or legal holiday, then the one hundred and twenty (120) day period shall extend to the end of the next business day. (Amended by referendum 1995; Amended by Ord. 2005-075 Exh. A; Amended by referendum 2015).

Section 8.23 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 (90) days after enactment. A supermajority (five of seven) of affirmative votes of the entire membership shall be required to enact such an ordinance, except that if a previous charter amendment was approved by a two-thirds majority of the voters, then no ordinance proposing to the voters further amendment of that matter shall be adopted except by a 7–0 affirmative vote of the Council. No ordinance proposing amendment of any provision of Sections 2.12 or 2.13 of this Charter shall be adopted by the Council except by a 7–0 affirmative vote. An ordinance proposing an amendment to the Charter shall not be subject to the veto power of the County Executive.

The County Council by unanimous vote of the entire Council may effect amendments to the language of the Charter where the passage of time has rendered language moot or obsolete. Such changes shall be made by ordinance, and have a public hearing. (Amended by referendum 1995; Amended by referendum 2015).

Section 8.24 Repeal of Charter.

Any proposal to repeal the Charter shall include provisions for transition. (Amended by Ord. 2005-075 Exh. A).