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Charter review committee made

Five residents have volunteered to serve on a committee that will review the city’s charter and make recommendations to the Craig City Council for changes.

The deadline for applications — already extended once — was Tuesday. The council was seeking no more than nine people and will forge ahead with the five who requested to serve.

The committee will consist of Barry Danford, attorney Pat Owens, Pam Designs owner Pam Foster, Trapper Mine employee Jim Herschberg and Ken Wergin, a fairly new resident who served on the Hot Springs, S.D., City Council for three terms.

“I really wanted to find a way to be of service in a meaningful way, and given my background, I thought I’d be a good fit,” Owens said.

Owens has lived in Craig for nearly four years.

City Manager Jim Ferree announced at Tuesday night’s Craig City Council meeting that he was working to determine a date for the committee to begin its work and to establish a regular meeting schedule, likely monthly.

Members will start with a copy of the city’s current charter — last revised 13 years ago — and copies of model charters from the Colorado Municipal League and National Civic League.

Foster served on the last committee that reviewed the charter and is excited about the prospect of updating it.

“A city’s charter or a group’s bylaws are of critical importance, and they really do need to be updated,” she said.

She called the charter the “backbone” of the city and said that it needs to be a strong one.

The committee’s goal will be to present recommendations to the council, which would be placed on the November 2006 ballot for voter approval.

Ferree said there are several items in the charter that should be in the form of city policy or ordinance.

“As case law evolves, so do policies,” he said. “There needs to be some flexibility.”

There are a few items a charter is required to cover, including what the make-up of the council is and how members are elected and council members’ powers, duties and length of service. The charter also outlines the responsibilities of the city manager, clerk, attorney and judge and defines procedures for putting items on the ballot and provisions for recalls.

“There are really very few things that have to be there,” Ferree said.

He said the five who volunteered represent a good cross section of community members.

Herschberg is hoping he’ll serve with a good mix of people.

“Things tend to work better with a variety of opinions and perspectives,” he said.

Herschberg has experience writing policy and said it’s something he enjoys.

“There aren’t a lot of people interested in that stuff, and I am,” he said.

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