City Council’s six proposed Charter revision ballot questions are on the November 4 ballot as Issues 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, and 40.

Here’s the Board of Elections “issue list” including the official ballot language of Issues 35 through 40 (pdf).

Here’s a version of the official ballot language with the separate components of each issue separated as bullet points.


In a special meeting held today for the purpose, Cleveland City Council voted to put six Charter revision questions on the November 4 ballot.  Each of the six ballot questions covers a specific subject area of the Charter, and most include multiple revisions in their respective subject areas.

Here’s a complete pdf copy of all six ordinances that passed today.

The Charter chapters and topics affected by the six ballot questions are:

  1. Chapters 3, 7 and 9 — eleven separate changes in City election procedures
  2. Chapter 25 (Police and Fire) — two changes in the Office of Professional Standards and Police Review Board
  3. Chapters 17 and 31 (Finance and Public Improvements) —  four changes in rules governing City contract awards
  4. Chapter 27  — at least eight Civil Service changes (depending on how you count)
  5. Chapters 5, 7 and 9 — three changes in the rules governing how quickly ordinances become law and the citizen referendum power
  6. Chapter 5 — the proposal to tie the size of City Council to wards of 25,000 residents, starting in 2009.

Altogether, Council is recommending at least 29 separate changes affecting eight chapters of the Charter.

It was submitted to City Council late Friday, out to the public today.

The report (pdf file).

I’ve just finished a complete update of all the proposals for revising the Cleveland City Charter received and considered by the Charter Review Commission.

The Commission has voted on a number of proposals already, and intends to finish the voting process at a special meeting tomorrow, July 28,  The members must complete and approve our final report to City Council by this Thursday, July 31.

Among the remaining issues still to be decided are proposals for changing the size and/or composition of Cleveland City Council.  Here’s the complete list of City Council reform proposals that will be on the table for action tomorrow.

Just added…

New page with links to Law Department drafts of all the current proposals for City Council reform.

Law Department draft of Greater Cleveland Partnership proposal to eliminate referendum requirement for sale of City’s landfilled properties (pdf file).

Law Department draft of new Jackson Administration proposal to eliminate prevailing wage requirement for employees covered by collective bargaining agreements (pdf file).

The main witness at this morning’s regular Charter Review Commission meeting was Deb Janik, a vice-president of the Greater Cleveland Partnership.  Janik expressed GCP’s support for several Charter revisions that have already been proposed, but she also had a new proposal:  Eliminating the requirement of Chapter 5, Section 45 for a vote of the people on any “proposed alienation, surrender or release of any rights of the City of Cleveland in or to the territory now covered by the waters of Lake Erie within the territorial limits of the City of Cleveland, or formerly covered thereby but now or hereafter filled”.

This change, if approved by the voters, would give City Council and the Mayor the authority to sell or lease landfilled lakefront properties (such as the current Port of Cleveland docks or Burke Lakefront Airport) to private buyers.  Under Charter Section 45 as is, such a transaction requires voter approval.

Also this morning, Barbara Langhenry of the Law Department presented another Administration proposal in the area of civil service (changes to Section 191, Compensation of Officers and Employees)…

and the Civil Service Employees Association submitted a letter with additional proposals of their own…

and Rick Horvath of the Law Department passed out proposed language for the three alternative Council reduction plans laid out last week by Councilman Cummins, a bigger reduction proposed in the community meetings, and another public proposal to return to two year Councl terms.

I hope to have all the items above posted by the weekend.

Finally, Commission member Bill Callahan (that’s me) distributed a request for consideration of two proposals as part of any plan to reduce Council ward representatives. The first (“Collaborative Government”) is specific language for my 1988 proposal for Neighborhood Service Districts. The second (“Transparent Government”) would require the Mayor to make all public records of departments and bodies within his jurisdiction available to the public on line by a Charter-specified deadline.

The documentation from all three of the Charter Review Commission’s community meetings (Tri-C Metro Campus on June 18, Gunning Recreation Center on June 24, Harvard Community Services Center on June 26) can now be accessed from the Community Meeting Testimony page.

It doesn’t have a tracking number yet (so it’s not quite official), but here’s the draft legislative language for Council President Martin Sweeney’s “City Council right-sizing” proposal that was handed out at this morning’s Charter Review Commission meeting.

And here’s an alternative approach from Ward 15 Councilman Brian Cummins, also presented at this morning’s meeting.

Also, see the next-to-last page of the written submissions from the June 18 community meeting for a third proposal.

Update July 7: Here’s a memo distributed at the July 3 Commission meeting by Bill Callahan (that’s me) proposing to accompany any reduction in the number of ward Council representatives with a new system of neighborhood service districts.

Charter Review is a public process, and City Council’s staff has been doing a good job of posting all the documents received and generated by the Charter Commission — along with agendas and notes of all the meetings — on the Commission’s section of Council’s website.

Unfortunately the pdf documents posted as “Supplementary Materials” — including testimony for and against many of the proposals — won’t open in most browsers and can only be accessed by downloading them.  This has been a problem for interested members of the public.

So I’m in the process of reposting most of these documents here, with a menu on the “Documents” page. So far the menu only includes letters and testimony related to Civil Service issues, including the Fire Chief appointment process.  But I should have most everything else linked in the next few days.

In addition, there’s a separate page for Community Meeting Testimony, which now includes everything  from our first community meeting on June 18th.  I’ll get the materials from June 24 and 26 up as soon as they become available at the City Council site.

Finally, I should acknowledge the terrific work Rick Horvath of the City Law Department has done in putting all 138 Charter revision proposals to date (with many more to come) into the numbered question-and-language format you see when you click any of these links.

This is a new blog with a simple purpose — to make it easier for Cleveland citizens to understand what’s happening in the Cleveland City Charter Review process, as the members of the Charter Review Commission (including me) spend the last month of our allotted time deciding what changes  to recommend to City Council in our city’s basic governing document.

At this moment Commission members have received formal language for 138 proposed changes to twelve of the Charter’s twenty chapters.  There will be more.  One obvious example: Last week City Council President Martin Sweeney made a presentation to the Commission asking us to recommend a new way of setting the number of Council wards.  There will certainly be other “Council reform” plans formally proposed in the near future.

The idea of this blog is to create easier public access to all these proposals, the documents submitted with them, the schedule of Commission events for the coming month, and the decisions leading up to our final report and recommendations to City Council.

Along the way I’ll try to post some road maps of the different (and often conflicting) proposals for change in specific areas like Civil Service and election rules.  But I don’t intend to engage in much opinionating here — my main blog, Callahan’s Cleveland Diary, gives me more than enough opportunity for that.

So here’s Cleveland Charter Review 2008, a special Cleveland Diary project.  I hope it’s helpful.