Proposed amendment fails to get re-approved

Middletown voters will have one fewer city charter amendments to consider on Nov. 6

As Middletown City Council went through the process of re-approving the proposed charter amendments after the Butler County Board of Elections found a technical error, one of the four proposed amendments failed to get re-approved at Tuesday’s meeting.

MORE: Middletown charter changes rejected by elections board

On Monday, the county Board of Elections notified the city that the proposed amendments to be placed on the Nov. 6 general election ballot were adopted outside the time-frame specified by the Ohio Constitution. That time-frame for a legislative authority to adopt legislation to submit questions to change a city charter is between 60 and 120 days before the election.

City Council adopted the legislation to submit the ballot issues in late June and filed their elections paperwork at the beginning of August.

Explore MORE: Pocketbook issues, charter amendments set to be on November ballot

County elections officials said the issue with Middletown’s charter questions came to light at the end of the day Friday, but Elections Director Eric Corbin said he didn’t know at that time if there was a way for Middletown to get their charter issues on the ballot. He said he spoke with the county prosecutor’s office late Sunday on a pathway to the ballot for Middletown.

The elections board gave the city until its Aug. 28 meeting to resubmit the proposed amendments.

Because of the short timeframe given by the elections board, the proposed charter changes had to be approved as an emergency measure by a super-majority of four votes. Council voted unanimously in June on these proposals.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Larry Mulligan said he would be voting against the charter change to remove the city’s Civil Service Commission and the Park Board from the charter, citing issues raised by residents that had come to his attention.

Explore MORE: Middletown police, fire chief hiring change misses ballot

As council members voted on each of the charter changes, Councilman Steve Bohannon also voted against taking those boards out of the charter.

He told the Journal-News that that residents raised concerns about that proposal.

“These citizens advisory boards are too important to possibly be eliminated at the whim of a future city council,” he said.

Middletown voters will now see three proposed charter changes on the ballot:

  • Organizational structure and composition of city council;
  • Eliminating the requirement that the city's annual report be maintained at the city library;
  • Providing alternate means of publication for certain legislative items and public hearings.

About the Author