Columbus Officials Name Members Of Charter Review Committee
After receiving more than a hundred applications to serve on the city's charter review committee, Columbus officials have chosen nine people to make a comprehensive analysis of City Council and overall governance. Mike Foley reports.
Columbus leaders announced the idea of a committee less than a month before the August 2nd special election for Issue One. Voters soundly rejected a plan to change City Council from seven at-large members to 13, with 10 of those elected from districts. Columbus officials campaigned against Issue One, but followed through on the charter review committee, taking applications a couple weeks after the special election. Impressed by the quality and quantity of applicants, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther says he wanted a diverse charter review committee with a wide range of activists, people committed to the process and members who have a deep love of Columbus. Ginther believes he and city council members have that with this nine member group.
“The results of the special election were clear and overwhelming, but just because we are doing well doesn’t mean we're doing our best. And so having a great cross section from this community, coming together to lend their expertise and their passion for this great city, we're gonna figure out how to move forward together to make the city stronger in the future."
Former assistant city attorney and Southwest Area Commission chair Stephanie Coe will lead the charter review committee. Former Ohio Lieutenant Governor and 11-year Columbus council member Jennette Bradley will also serve on the panel. Six of the nine members attended the announcement, including Lourdes Barroso de Padilla – senior director of national events at City Year Columbus.
“Having lived in other cities where there have been wards, I think that that’s interesting. I think that that’s also a challenging system and poses some challenges. So, I’m just interested in having the conversation. I’m interested in hearing public commentary and having these community conversations and hearing what people are really concerned about. Maybe it’s not about changing the entire system, maybe it’s about changing one or two things to make people feel more comfortable or make this more accessible. I think if nothing else, the fact that people are talking about it and interested in it, I think is good. I’m fascinated by sports players because they always watch their tapes, and they always think how can we get better, how can we get faster, how can we win this game, how can we change this play – and I think we’re taking that approach in this particular instance, and I think that’s good for us as a city.”
Other committee members are Eastmoor community activist Frieda Gilyard, Hilltop pastor Tyrone Lawes, Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission member Frederick Mills, Innovation Ohio President and CEO Keary McCarthy, Central Ohio Community Improvement Corporation president John Rosenberger and journalist Bob Vitale. The first of at least seven public meetings takes place September 21. Updates and a way to submit a comment can be found on the city’s website under a charter review tab in the city council section.