In addition to having the Keep Ypsi Rollin’ transit millage on the ballot next week, local folks will have an opportunity to weigh in on whether or not now would be a good time to convene a Charter Commission to revise the City Charter. Following is the language of the ballot initiative.
CITY OF YPSILANTI
PROPOSAL FOR A GENERAL REVISION OF THE CITY CHARTER
Shall a Charter Commission be established with the purpose of writing a general revision of the Ypsilanti City Charter for submission or approval of the voters in accordance with the provisions of Michigan Law?
This, as I understand it, is on the ballot because Article 11.7 of our existing Charter requires it to be voted on every eight election cycles (sixteen years). This, I’m told, is the first time since our current Charter was adopted that it has appeared on the ballot.
Here, by way of background, is Article 11.7 of our current charter:
The question of whether there shall be a general revision of the City Charter shall be submitted to the voters of the City of Ypsilanti at the 8th general City election after the effective date of this Charter and at every 8th general City election thereafter and may be submitted at other times in the manner provided by law. Members of the Commission shall be elected at the same time as the vote on the question.
And, here, is a letter on the subject that I just received from Councilman Pete Murdock (reprinted with his permission):
To my knowledge there is no groundswell of support to have a revision of the Charter, but there has been some confusion to why this is on the ballot. Prior to the August primary, former Mayor Cheryl Farmer and former Councilmember John Gawlas as part of the mayoral campaign were spreading the rumor that I had “secretly” put this on the ballot so we could have a strong Mayor system with me as Mayor. The logic of this argument escapes me, but as you know, in politics you can say anything. Of course Cheryl should have known better, since she was an influential member on the Charter Commission that proposed our existing Charter with this provision in it.
In any event, I don’t think there is any effort to revise the Charter, but you might better ask those who are running for the Charter commission of what their motives and intentions are. At one of the forums that Paul and I appeared at, we were asked about the issue and we both expressed opposition to a Charter revision (as well as the State Con-Con for similar reasons.)
I don’t see any need for a Charter Revision Commission, there is more to be lost than gained by convening one. I am voting NO on the issue and urging others to do so also.
Perhaps you could get a discussion or at least an awareness of the issue started.
So, let’s start a discussion… Does anyone out there think it’s necessary to initiate a Charter Revision Commission? And, if so, why?