[quote_left]Diane Powers feels it is important to state her perspective of the difference and why her efforts are focused only on improving governance.[/quote_left]Loveland, Ohio – Diane Powers wants the community and Loveland Council to consider changes to Loveland’s Charter. Her proposal is for voters to directly elect the Mayor and for term limits for all members of City Council.
Powers attempted to bring her proposal forward at the last Council meeting but was denied when the meeting was abruptly adjourned – before, the agenda item set aside to hear from the public. She and local businessman Tim Canada wanted to talk about the changes. They want the measure on the fall ballot for voter consideration.
Immediately after Mayor Mark Fitzgerald spoke at the June 27 Council meeting, Vice-Mayor Angie Settle made a motion that adjourned the meeting, leaving residents who had signed up for “Open Forum”, nowhere to go but out the door. (Read: Mayor’s Kumbaya Moment pivots to Bye Y’all as Council meeting abruptly ends)
Below, is an email that Powers sent to Loveland Magazine along with her supporting documents so the community could read the presentation she was prevented from making at the Council meeting.
Council can vote to put the issue on the ballot. If they choose not to, she is prepared to circulate Initiative Petitions.
To: Mayor and City Council of Loveland, OH
Cc: City Administration, Council Clerk, Media personnel
RE: Open Forum Statement – June 27, 2017 – Governance: Elections
From: Diane Powers, Main Street, Loveland, OH
Note: This was the essence of my statement that I planned to make at Tuesday’s Council meeting prior to the abrupt adjournment. Thought sending it to you all now and making it a part of the City’s public records for citizen communication would keep at least my position open and transparent to everyone.
I want to address Council to share my thoughts on the governance of “We the People”—we citizens of Loveland. I feel there is a fundamental difference between politics and governance. Politics is a focus on the past, manipulating facts, and building small alliances and favoritism that are not representative of the citizens. What it appears we have now, and have had for the last 15-20 years. Governance, on the other hand, is how our elected officials and public employees interact with the citizens to create a community that improves the quality of life by ensuring equal opportunities and access for everyone. As elections are once again coming up in just over 4 months, I feel it is important to state my perspective of the difference and why my efforts are focused only on improving governance. [quote_right]If we want to fix the now, we have to fix the how.[/quote_right]
It was during the height of some of this campaign toxicity, about a month ago, I had made a statement on a Facebook “conversation” (and I do use that term lightly) that, “If we want to fix the now, we have to fix the how.” How we choose the leadership of Loveland. How we ensure the city does not stagnate under a system of “status quo”. How we communicate a vision for the city’s future and elect the individuals most in-tune with setting policies to bring the vision into existence – our Mayor and Council Members. How we citizens address how we want to be governed.
Simultaneously, it appeared to quite a few people that a good start to “fixing the how” was 2-fold:
- To move to direct election of the Mayor. This will eliminate the equivalent of Loveland’s “Electoral College”—in essence, 4 people/Council Members—that select the Mayor. It will also require individuals seeking the office of Mayor publicly declare it.
a. Provide for the Council Member receiving the most percentage of votes in Council Member elections becomes Vice Mayor.
2. To establish term limits for all elected officials.
Attached are 2 DRAFT Motions for each Item that were created with verbal input from a number of Loveland citizens. Establishing the language of the ballot measure and change to the municipal code is most definitely open to and, asked for, respectful dialogue from each and every Loveland citizen, Council Member, and the Mayor. I have also attached reference municipal code for Direct Elections from Beavercreek, OH and Cincinnati, OH. Both are local, comparable City Manager/Mayor-Council forms of government. We see these as building blocks for the final ballot language. They are what Tim Canada, a stakeholder in Loveland, was going to bring forward for Council consideration at the Tuesday session. We will be prepared to move this forward via a ballot initiative with necessary eligible voter signatures if Council does not.
It would be encouraging to see any or all Council Members, including the Mayor, demonstrate they are truly independent thinkers and voices and want to let voters decide critical issues by showing their support of the Motions and offering to officially bring these to Council for discussion and potential vote. Having a symbolic “John Hancock” signature on the informal Motions would go a very long way in demonstrating an ability to govern and not just engage in politics as usual. (This was for the Draft Motions at the meeting. At this point, an official Motion from any/all of Council desired.)
Lastly, it is also important to note that “my voice” is used to improve governance and not to campaign for anyone. Who I support is declared at the ballot box with my vote. I would love to say there is a person running that I trust their integrity, authenticity, intelligence, independence, and ability to communicate (listen to all sides of an issue) but I am not seeing these leadership qualities emerge. There’s four months remaining—someone, anyone, please step up.
Thank you for your consideration.
Ordinance Language for Motion – Sample Beavercreek
Proposed language to Replace SECTION 2.05 ORGANIZATION AND MEETINGS and SECTION 2.06 MAYOR AND VICE-MAYOR.
Six (6) Council members shall be elected as Council members at large to four (4) year terms on a rotation of three (3) members selected in one election and three (3) members selected in the next. This rotation will begin with three (3) persons being selected at the 2019 November general election and three (3) selected at the 2021 November general election and will continue at the November general election in subsequent off numbered years. The Mayor shall be selected by separate ballot to a four (4) year term beginning at the 2019 November general election and each four (4) years thereafter.
(A) Term Limitation.
(1) In no case shall any person be elected to either the office of Council member, Mayor, or a combination of the two offices, for more than two (2) consecutive terms of four (4) years each; provided that the term served in filling a vacancy or unexpired term shall not be considered as part of the two (2) consecutive terms of four (4) years each.
(2) Following the election to two (2) consecutive terms as either Council member, Mayor, or a combination of the two offices, no person shall immediately thereafter be eligible for election to either office, or a combination thereof, until a period of one (1) term consisting of four (4) years has elapsed.
(3) No person who has been elected to two (2) consecutive terms as Council member, Mayor, or a combination of the two offices, shall be appointed to fill a vacancy or unexpired term until a period of one (1) term consisting of four (4) years has elapsed since that same person last held office as either Council member or Mayor.
(4) Present members already elected to more than two (2) consecutive terms as either Council member, Mayor, or a combination of the two offices, shall finish the present term to which they were elected.
This proposed Charter amendment shall become effective from the time of its approval by the electors and shall apply to all present Council members and Mayor.
SECTION _______. QUALIFICATIONS.
The Mayor and each Council member shall be at the time of election or appointment, and shall remain throughout the term of office, a qualified elector of the City.
The Mayor and each Council member shall begin their term of office on the first day of January following their election. The Mayor and each Council member shall take the oath of office on or before the first day of January.
SECTION ______ OFFICERS OF THE COUNCIL.
The officers of the Council shall be the Mayor and Vice Mayor.
(A) Mayor. The Mayor shall have the right to vote on all issues before the Council but shall have no power of veto. In addition to the powers, rights, and duties as a Council member, the Mayor shall preside at meetings of the Council, shall be recognized as head of the city government for all ceremonial purposes, by the Governor for purposes of military law, and by the courts for civil process involving the City. The Mayor is recognized as the Chief Executive Officer [Executive Officer] as required by the Ohio Revised Code for purposes of declaring an emergency, but not for any action other than as required by declared emergencies. The Mayor may by ordinance have judicial powers and shall perform all other duties prescribed by ordinance or by resolution of the Council not inconsistent with the provisions of this Charter.
(B) Vice Mayor. The Vice Mayor shall exercise all the power and perform all the duties of the Mayor in case of temporary absence or disability. The City Council Candidate receiving the highest number of votes from City electors at the most recent November general election in an off numbered year will be the Vice Mayor and will serve as such for the first two (2) years of his or her term. If the office of Vice Mayor becomes vacant, the successor Vice Mayor shall be the member who received the next higher number of votes at the most recent rotation election of Council members. If it is not possible to identify a successor in that manner, the Council shall choose a new Vice Mayor at its next regular meeting. In the event of a vacancy in the office of Mayor, the Vice Mayor will serve as Mayor until such time as the vacancy is filled in accordance with Section _____ of this Charter.