Communication tops changes

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Members of a charter review committee said the city should do a better job of communicating with residents. They're hoping to make that the law.

The eight-member committee, established in August to update the city's charter, has reviewed seven of the charter's 15 articles. Most of the changes have involved matters of "housekeeping," committee Chairwoman Pam Foster said.

Two council members and six residents serve on the committee, which recommends changes. Voters will choose whether to endorse those changes.

"I can't say at this point that there have been any significant changes," Foster said.

The committee has suggested a new requirement that the mayor make a "state of the city" address each year to inform residents about the city's financial position and accomplishments as well as its goals for the next year. The committee also changed a section to require all ordinances be posted on the city's Web site or at another location in addition to a newspaper.

Another proposed change requires those running for a City Council seat to be registered voters as well as city residents.

The committee reviewed articles pertaining to the duties and responsibilities of councilors and city manager and the functions of the municipal court, city attorney, elections and city finance.

The committee reviews two or three articles at each meeting, discusses changes and votes on them.

Committee members will review the 37-page document to ensure articles don't conflict or duplicate one another after the revisions, Foster said.

Many of the changes will put the charter in sync with state law.

Other changes remove items involving personnel issues, which should be dealt with in the city's personnel manual, City Manager Jim Ferree said.

Foster said each member of the committee studied charters from four or five other communities.

"Everyone seems to be very diligent," she said. "Everyone's coming with their homework done."

The committee meets at 6 p.m. Nov. 30 and Dec. 14 in council chambers of Craig City Hall.

Members are asking for more community input, Foster said.

"Most people probably think this is the most boring thing in the world," she said.

Voters will get a chance to approve or reject the changes in November 2006.

Voters will have at least 120 days to review the proposed changes before the election.

A committee last reviewed the charter in the early 1990s.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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