Oxford amendments about police, fire, more rejected by elections board

The Butler County Board of Elections has rejected a request by the city of Oxford to have a series of charter amendments on the November ballot.

Why? It was too early.

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“As my law director said, ‘in this case the early bird does not get the worm,” said Oxford City Manager Douglas Elliott.

Oxford City Council sent a request in December 2016 to the elections office to have 22 charter amendments on the ballot this fall. Elliott said it’s being requested the charter amendment be as one encompassing package. He described it as cleaning up the city’s charter, which was last updated a decade ago. It was first adopted in 1960.

The amendments involved either adding, removing or revising sections of the city charter. Some of the changes include, removing the section regarding police and fire personnel not being required to deliver agendas and other mail; revising that City Council appoints the finance director for an indefinite term; and adding a number of personnel items.

However, state law requires questions for a public vote to be submitted between 120 days and 60 days before an election, according to an email from the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office. Oxford City Council adopted the legislation requesting to change the city’s charter on Dec. 20, 2016, which is 11 months before the Nov. 7 election.

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“As a result, an election may not be held on this charter amendment question (submitted),” according to the email from Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mary Anne Nardiello.

The city must re-submit the request between July 10 and Sept. 8, said Butler County Board of Elections Deputy Director Jocelyn Bucaro.

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