Peoria removes ballot items last minute, gives little explanation as to why

Posted 7/13/20

In a last minute Peoria City Council meeting July 10, the council voted to rescind two charter amendments that had already been approved for the ballot — one amendment was to increase the term of future mayors from two terms to three terms and the other was a cost of living adjustment for mayor and council.

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Peoria removes ballot items last minute, gives little explanation as to why

Posted

In a last minute Peoria City Council meeting July 10, the council voted to rescind two charter amendments that had already been approved for the ballot — one amendment was to increase the term of future mayors from two terms to three terms and the other was a cost of living adjustment for mayor and council.

This was done with minimal response as to why.

All city council meetings are streamed for the public to view, however this meeting was not streamed and there is no video record of it.

RELATED: Peoria charter changes to be on ballot

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 city has gone through a nearly year-long process to get five amendments on the November ballot but then pulled two of them last minute.

Last year, a charter review committee of nine members was appointed by mayor and council. The committee held meetings in November, January and February. After receiving recommendations from the committee, city staff reviewed the proposed language, researched best practices and policies, and then held a 30-day public comment window.

Finally, the city council approved all five amendments for the ballot at a public meeting, June 16.

The city would not comment on the removal of the two items other than to say the November ballot is too full.

“The items were removed due to a cluttered ballot environment,” stated spokeswoman Kristina Perez in an email. “No other information is available.”

When news of the amendment to increase the term of future mayors from two terms to three consecutive terms reached the public, it drew ire from some residents, who said three terms is too many.

The city argued the change would make the mayor’s term limit consistent with council members, which is set at three terms. Under the change there would be no limit on the number of nonconsecutive terms.

The other rescinded amendment in question involved salaries of the mayor and council members.

Under the change, their salaries would have been 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. 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, according to the amendment.

The following three charter amendments will be on the ballot:

•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.

•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.

•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. This changes eliminates the need to hold a primary election and general election for the same two candidates

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

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