Monroe council votes down 2 Charter Commission recommendations before they face voters

City’s voters will decide how mayor is elected, other issues on Nov. 4 ballot.

Monroe voters will have two fewer ballot issues to consider this fall after council members were split of Charter Review Commission recommendations.

With the city council at six members after Robert “Bob” Routson resigned last month, the issues needed at least four members to vote “yes” to be placed on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Two of the issues — eight-year term limits and requiring members to attend at least 66% of the meetings before they’re removed — were shot down when Vice Mayor Keith Funk and veteran council members Anna Hale and Tom Callahan rejected them.

Mayor Jason Frentzel and council members Todd Hickman and Christina McElfresh voted for the issues.

At an earlier meeting, Kelly Clark, who chaired the Charter Review Commission, urged council members not to place all the suggested changes as one ballot issue. The commission wanted Monroe residents to vote on the issues separately because of their importance, she said.

The charter, considered the city’s constitution, is reviewed every 10 years and the committee included Clark, vice chair Katie Wagner, Linda Tucker, Kara Brown, Vicki Hickman and Colleen Taylor.

Council approved how the mayor is elected and the rest of the recommendations, including changing the pronouns in the charter to be gender neutral.

To be eligible for the Nov. 4 election, the ballot language has to be submitted to the Butler County Board of Elections by Aug. 4.

Funk, Callahan and Hale said they think an eight-year term limit is too short and doesn’t allow council members to get comfortable in their leadership positions.

“No matter how old you get, you’re still learning stuff,” Callahan said after the meeting.

Funk said when he ran for council six years ago he was unopposed. He said there’s no “reason to force” out a council member if there’s no one to fill the position.

Funk said he was against requiring members to attend 66% of the meetings because of possible emergencies like lengthy hospitalizations.

Hale, who has been on council for 12 years, said it’s all about having “stability” on council.

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