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Charter review committee begins its work

Group to forward recommendations to City Council


The Sherwood Charter Review Committee met for the first time Wednesday, gearing up to look over what’s effectively the city’s constitution and determine if changes or housekeeping measures are needed.

The nine-member group is charged with going through the document and forwarding its findings to the Sherwood City Council who could ultimately have voters determine if they want changes.

“There is a lot of citizen interest in what’s going to be discussed over the next few months,” City Manager Joe Gall told the committee, which consists of members from city boards and commissions as well as three Sherwood citizens.

City Councilor Linda Henderson, who is a liaison to the committee, said the charter was last changed in 2005 when the city moved to a home-rule charter and received voter approval to tap the Willamette River as the city’s main drinking source.

In 2011, another charter measure that would have changed the term of the mayor from two to four years – along with clarifying the process for filling City Council vacancies and the removal of an obsolete provision regarding use of Willamette River water -- was rejected by voters.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Henderson also distributed suggestions from other council members regarding charter chapters the committee might consider looking at including term limits for both council members and the mayor along with reviewing the city charter on a regular basis and having a council member standard of conduct.

Henderson suggested that any charter change that reaches voters be listed separately and not lumped all together like the 2011 measure. She said she believes the last charter didn’t pass in part because of the process that didn’t even include a public comment period.

Neil Shannon, a charter review committee member who was named vice chairman Wednesday, said he voted against the 2011 charter proposal because of how the measure was proposed and the fact that the mayor’s term would be extended.

During public comments, Sherwood resident Kurt Kristensen asked that the committee take as much deliberation, caution and time as necessary in looking at the document and not rush through it.

Also during the meeting the committee:

selected committee member Pat Allen as chairmen of the group.

began some discussion on whether or not the group should shoot for both a May and November election deadline so as not to shortchange consideration of issues that may take more time to examine.

agreed to look at how frequently the group will meet and look at the charter chapter by chapter.

The next meeting is set for Dec. 19.



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