Peoria charter changes to be on ballot: Voters to decide on extra term for mayor, other changes

Posted 6/2/20

Five changes to Peoria’s city charter will be on the ballot in November, including one that will change the maximum amount of time a person can serve as mayor.

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Peoria charter changes to be on ballot: Voters to decide on extra term for mayor, other changes

Posted

Five changes to Peoria’s city charter will be on the ballot in November, including one that will change the maximum amount of time a person can serve as mayor.

The city charter acts as the constitution of the city and the framework for local laws that are passed by city council and then codified into the city code.

Changes to the city charter can only be amended by a majority vote of the qualified electors of the city of Peoria.

The first proposed modification is to change the maximum amount of time a person can serve as Peoria mayor from two to three consecutive terms. This makes the mayor’s term limit consistent with council members, which is set at three terms. Under the change there shall be no limit on the number of nonconsecutive terms.

Each term is four years.

There are four other changes to the city charter, each to appear individually on the ballot in November.

  • Second, if a person is selected to fill a vacant term by appointment or by election, the partial term shall not be included as a term.
  • Third, salaries of the mayor, vice-mayor and council members shall be automatically adjusted annually at the beginning of the city’s fiscal year based on the change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). If at the beginning of the city’s fiscal year there have been two immediately preceding successive periods of negative Gross Domestic Product or a recession as defined by the National Bureau of Economic Research, there will not be an automatic cost of living adjustment applied for the upcoming fiscal year.
  • Fourth, this change involves the time it should take to appoint someone to fill a council seat: The council shall not have less than 12 calendar days nor more than 30 calendar days from the date any vacancy occurs to appoint a person to fill the vacant office for a term ending the first business day after the canvass of votes is completed following the election of a candidate to fill the unexpired term of office.
  • Fifth, this changes eliminates the need to hold a primary election and general election for the same two candidates: At the primary election, any candidate who shall receive a majority of all the votes cast at such election shall be declared elected to the office for which he is a candidate, and no further election shall be held as to said candidate.

Charter Review Committee Chair Brad  Shafer said the changes achieve a number of intents.

“The goal of no. 2 is to not penalize those who fill a vacancy. The intent of no. 3 is to create a reasonable and automatic cost of living to account for inflation for council members and mayor. However, if there is a recession as defined by the National Bureau of Economic Research, there will not be an automatic cost of living adjustment applied for the upcoming fiscal year. A great example of this would be our current circumstances. ... Given our current economic status at this time, there would not be an automatic COLA given to council and mayor based on our economic situation,” he said.

“The intent for no. 4 is to allow the city to conduct the process to fill a council or mayor vacancy. The committee agreed that more flexibility should be applied in this instance and changed the language to allow from 12 to 30 days. This allows staff the time necessary for the administrative tasks involved with filling a vacancy on the council. And the intent of no. 5 is to eliminate the need to hold a primary election and general election for the same two candidates. It is a cost saving measure to the residents of Peoria and there is no need to have the expense of two elections with the same two individuals on the ballot.”

Philip Haldiman can be reached at 623-876-3697, phaldiman@newszap.com, or on Twitter @philiphaldiman.

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