The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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August 17, 2013

Council to decide whether to appoint panel to study proposed charter changes

JOPLIN, Mo. — The rules that govern Joplin could be changing if the City Council on Monday agrees to appoint a commission to review the home rule charter and recommend changes.

Councilman Morris Glaze last Monday proposed a number of changes to the charter. He made the proposals in the form of motions during council work sessions, but those motions died due to the lack of a second.

Some council members said they were reluctant to act suddenly to put any charter changes before voters without some thought. The council discussed asking a commission to study the charter and suggest changes.

Charter review is recommended every 10 years; the last review occurred in 2006.  

Glaze said he proposed a set of changes because, “I think the council should always be changing and evolving to reflect the community.”

If approved, the council would appoint nine people to conduct the review, with membership on the commission first offered to previous mayors of the city. The proposal also calls for the commission to submit a report to the council in six months.

Glaze proposed:

• There be a limit of three elected terms for a person to serve on the council.

• Mayors be elected directly by the voters instead of by the council to two-year terms, with a limit of three terms. He also wants the mayor to be restricted to voting only to break a tie or when a supermajority is needed.

• Council zone seats be eliminated.

• The city clerk be placed under the supervision of the city manager rather than the council.

• Council pay be raised from $10 to $100 a month.

A charter commission would not have to confine its study strictly to the Glaze recommendations, and it could have a broad impact on how city business is conducted, according to City Attorney Brian Head.

“All of it taken together represents a strong structural change to city government without knowing how that will shake out, but there would be a shift,” he said.

Any proposed changes from the Charter Review Commission would have to be submitted to city voters to decide whether they could be adopted.

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