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Posted on: January 8, 2019

City Council calls for election to amend the City Charter

At the January 7, 2019 City Council Meeting, the Blue Springs City Council unanimously voted to call for a Citywide election on April 2, 2019 to amend the City Charter.

The call for election follows the recommendations made by the Charter Review Commission that were presented to the City Council on December 17, 2018. The recommended amendments, listed by Ballot Question Number include:

1. Replacing gender-specific pronouns with gender-neutral pronouns.

2. Removing language providing direction to the City during its transition to a Constitutional Home Rule Charter City in 1994.

3. Changing the minimum age of a Councilmember from 21 to 25 and requiring that a Councilmember and Mayor not be a registered sex offender.

4. Changing the procedure for filling Council vacancies so that the person appointed holds the position until the next regular municipal election and shall serve until the end of the current term; providing for public hearings within 30 days for Councilmembers subject to forfeiture of office; to continue the current procedure of requiring roll call votes by the Council for the second reading of an ordinance, for approval of minutes, for approval of routine items on a consent agenda, or at the request of the Mayor or any Councilmember; and removing reference to the Mayor when the City Administrator appoints the City Clerk with the advice and consent of the Mayor and Council because the Mayor is considered a member of the Council.

5. Deleting a Section in Article III City Council, which is a duplicate of a Section in Article IV Mayor concerning execution of documents.

6. Adding requirements that the City Attorney and the City Prosecutor be appointed by the Mayor with the advice and consent of a majority of the entire Council and may be removed by a 5/7 majority of the Council.

7. Changing the minimum age of the City Administrator from 21 to 25, clarifying the number of Council votes required to remove the City Administrator (5/7), and providing that the designation of Acting City Administrator may be revoked by a majority vote of the Council.

8. Allowing for a random number drawing by candidates on the first day of filing for preparation of ballots.

9. Allowing City employees to campaign for and contribute to the campaign fund of any candidate for City office and clarifying the penalties for violation of prohibited activity under Article XII.

10. Amending Sections related to designation of a Special Municipal Judge and setting the date of municipal elections to conform to state law.

Members of the Charter Review Commission were: Jeanie Lauer (co-chair), Bryan Pratt (co-chair), Kelli Montgomery, Maureen Johnson, Becky Nace, James Wallace, Jason Bonney, Kynette Campbell, and Traci Via.

The City’s Home Rule City Charter was established by Blue Springs voters on April 5, 1994 and it mandates that a Commission be established to review and recommend changes to the Charter from time to time, but no less than every five years. The City of Blue Springs' Home Rule Charter, much like the U.S. Constitution, contains the rules which describe how the City functions, organizes itself, and makes the decisions that affect the daily lives of residents. The Charter sets parameters for what laws and rules may be adopted by City Council, what kind of services the public receives, and how tax dollars are collected and spent.

All Charter Review Commission meetings were open to the public and agendas, minutes and current version of the Home Rule Charter are available at http://www.bluespringsgov.com/1617/Charter-Review-Commission.

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