BEAVERCREEK — Beavercreek citizens could soon be asked to vote on changing the city charter to allow for the direct election of the city’s mayor.
According to Beavercreek City Council member Zach Upton, the idea is one past charter review commissions have recommended.
“It’s something I feel is just missing from the city of Beavercreek,” he said. “No one in Beavercreek runs for the office of mayor. We don’t have an election for mayor, yet we have the title and the distinction of mayor.”
Upton said the city “never has the ability to build up really any seniority with the surrounding communities” because the city’s mayor changes every two years.
Currently, the city’s mayor is selected in the council member election every two years by virtue of being the candidate receiving the highest number of votes. The office is largely a ceremonial one and with small exceptions has the same power as that of other city council members.
According to former mayor and current council member Brian Jarvis, the office’s relationship and interaction with other mayors and legislators is not the same as in other communities.
“There was something, I don’t know whether it’s just in the gut, in the heart, I have no idea what is is, but there is something unique about actually being the directly elected mayor of your community…,” he said.
Jarvis said the change would give “voters a chance to actually say, ‘Yes, I want that person to be mayor.’ That person, whoever it is, needs to expound why they want to be mayor, what their vision is, what their outlook for the city is and not simply to be one of many that happens by chance to be elected mayor.”
Council considered a draft proposal in a work session Monday that would see the mayor split out from the other members of council as its own directly elected office but would not change the mayor’s powers.
Discussions centered around the proposal’s term limits, which could allow one person to be elected to council and mayor in a repeated cycle.
The city charter currently limits members of council to two consecutive four-year terms. After eight years on council, a member would have to wait a period of four years before being eligible to be elected again.
Upton said that while some of the details around the term limits still need to be worked out, it “sounds like there is some consensus that having a directly elected mayor is beneficial for Beavercreek.”
Five of the seven members of city council would have to vote for the idea for it to be presented to voters.
According to Upton, his goal is to put the issue up for a vote on the 2016 November general election ballot with the first mayoral election coming in November 2019.