City Council to Receive Proposed Charter Changes During Special Thursday Meeting

Jul 14, 2022 | 0 comments

July 14, 2022

PRESS RELEASE

Contact:

Parker Gavigan, Director of Communications

pgavigan@providenceri.gov

City Council to Receive Proposed Charter Changes During Special Thursday Meeting 

Providence, RI – Councilors will receive official recommendations for the city’s Charter changes during a special meeting tonight, Thursday, July 14, at 5 PM. After more than six months of weekly meetings with city department heads and public input, the Charter Review Commission, chaired by City Council President John Igliozzi, made its recommendations to the City Council on changes to the Charter (essentially the city’s constitution). The Charter Review process occurs every 10 years. Here are the highlights and more detail of the proposed changes:

 

  • Establishes a hybrid school board with 10 members (5 elected and 5 appointed)
  • Allows the City Council to hire certain consultants by a simple majority vote
  • Establishes the removal of appointed officers to be defined by ordinance; allows removal of council appointees by simple majority vote
  • Establishes the position of General Manager of the Water Supply Board
  • Clarifies that all department heads and appointed officers are subject to personnel regulations
  • Establishes gender neutral terminology throughout the Charter (i.e. chairman to chair)
  • Raises purchasing thresholds for the Board of Contract and Supply
  • City Council to approve department heads every 4 years

 

 Hybrid School Board

The proposed hybrid model recommendation includes 10 members, with five non-partisan elected members and five appointed by the mayor. The five elected members will represent five equal city regions with no term limits. Those elected will serve a four-year term. The three-year term for appointed members will remain in place. No more than two appointed board members will be selected from the same region.

Hiring Consultants

The proposed change to section 401 (d) of the Charter will allow the City Council to hire consultants such as accountants, engineers, and other experts by a simple majority vote. Currently, a two-thirds vote is required, which will remain in effect for hiring attorneys.

Removal of Officers and Appointees

The proposed change to section 403 of the Charter will allow the City Council to bring charges against any department head or Council-appointed officer and, following a hearing, vote by a simple majority to remove. Presently a two-thirds majority is required. The current Charter is silent on the procedural rules by which a hearing could take place. The Commission recommends a Council ordinance establish procedure.

General Manager of the Water Supply Board

The proposed change to section 1101 of the Charter will establish a new position of General Manager, who would have oversight authority of all the Water Supply Board personnel matters separate and apart from the Chief Engineer.

Department Heads and Appointed Officers

The proposed change to section 1201 of the Charter will clarify language to make it explicit that department heads are subject to all applicable city personnel regulations and policies, despite any protections of section 403.

Gender Neutral Terminology

The proposed change is a general amendment to use gender-neutral terminology throughout the entire Charter. (Officially change the term Chairman to Chair, etc.)

Board of Contract & Supply Threshold

The recommended change to section 1007 of the Charter supports increasing the threshold requirements for the Board of Contract and Supply. Regular city purchasing will increase from $5,000 to $15,000, except for construction contracting which will increase to $35,000.

Powers and Duties of the Mayor

The recommended charter change to section 302 will require the City Council to approve mayoral department heads and agency appointments every 4 years.

 

Charter Review Commission background:

First established in January of 1992, the Charter Review Commission was appointed to review the Charter and recommend changes to the city council. The commission is made up of nine (9) members, four (4) are appointed by the mayor, and five (5) by the city council. The commission has a maximum of eight (8) months from the date of its appointment to complete a report and submit its findings to the city council.

To learn more about the Charter Review process:

https://council.providenceri.gov/charter-review/

Commission Members:

Council President John J. Igliozzi, Chair

Councilman Oscar Vargas, Vice-Chair

Councilwoman Carmen Castillo

Councilman James Taylor

Bryan Principe

Ellen Cynar

Tiana Ochoa

Robert L. Ricci

Wayne Montague

 

What’s next?

After the Council receives the recommendations, public hearings will be scheduled to solicit feedback from Providence residents. Recommendations that pass the Council will be presented before voters on a November ballot.

 

*An official report will be available online before the special Council meeting*

https://council.providenceri.gov/charter-review/

 

Tonight’s meeting will be live streamed on YouTube:

https:bit.ly/pvdmeetings

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