FAIRBORN — Changes to the Fairborn City Charter are coming after local voters passed two amendments and failed one during a special election May 7, according to unofficial election results.
Issues 5 and 7 passed, while Issue 6 did not. Issue 6 would have revised Section 2.12 to add the phrase “any other reason consistent with the Ohio Revised Code” concerning reasons Fairborn City Council may recess into executive session. It additionally asked if a revision should be made to Section 2.15 in order to remove language that would repeal emergency ordinances 180 days after adoption.
Fairborn Mayor Paul Keller said he was surprised to see Issue 6 go down, as it was a “housekeeping amendment,” he said. According to the Fairborn City Charter, council is required to list reasons why they would go into executive session and the reasoning must be in alignment with the Ohio Revised Code. They may be discussing city personnel or real estate in which a public discussion would put Fairborn at a disadvantage. If the amendment would have passed, council still would have had to explain the reasoning why they are going into executive session on the council agenda, but would have added the phrase “any other reason consistent with the Ohio Revised Code.”
The amendment failed by more than 50 percent while more than 49 percent of voters were in favor. According to unofficial election results, the levy failed by 10 votes.
“I was surprised that the only one that failed by 10 votes was a housekeeping amendment,” Keller said.
He added that the charter amendment will likely not make another appearance on the November ballot. Keller explained that every 10 years, the city forms a volunteer charter review committee comprised of long-time citizens, former mayors and previous members of council to review the charter and examine what needs to be done to “bring it current,” he said. The committee met this year.
Issue 5 asked whether or not citizens wished to modify the mayor’s term from two years to four years. It also asked whether citizens wished to modify consecutive terms for council and mayor in order to serve a maximum of two consecutive four-year terms in each office before taking a required two-year break.
The amendment passed by more than 55 percent while more than 44 percent of voters were not in favor.
Before the amendment passed, the mayor of Fairborn would have had to run a campaign every other year in order to be re-elected as long as they were not term limited. Keller highlighted that having to run a campaign every other year made it more difficult to “pay attention to the things I need to pay attention to” as mayor, he said.
The passage of Issue 5 will also benefit Fairborn on a regional level, Keller said, as elected officials from Fairborn are involved with regional committees in which continuity as well as knowing the elected official’s background and expertise are beneficial to those committees.
Issue 7 asked if citizens would support reducing the amount of signatures a candidate must collect on their nominating petition. Candidates formerly had to collect 100 signatures. However, now that the charter amendment has passed, candidates have to collect 50 signatures.
The amendment was passed by more than 52 percent while more than 47 percent of voters were not in favor.
Keller said this is beneficial as it will encourage more individuals to get involved. He said communities neighboring Fairborn have also made this change, so it puts Fairborn more in-line with surrounding areas.
It also modified the amount of time a candidate has to file a nomination petition with the Greene County Board of Elections. Before the charter amendment passed, candidates had no less than 60 days prior to the regular municipal election. Now that the charter amendment has passed, candidates have no less than 90 days before the regular municipal election to submit their nomination petition.
Keller said it benefits Fairborn citizens and candidates as they will have more time to get to know each other before election day. It also aligns Fairborn with surrounding communities as they already have that rule in place.
In the upcoming November election, Fairborn citizens will be electing two new members of council as two current members Marilyn McCauley and Tim Steininger are timing out at the end of this year.
“We will have to wait and see who pulls papers,” he said.
Keller said Council member Terry Burkert is also up for re-election and will also be the only incumbent to run. Keller is additionally up for re-election and plans to run again.