City of Fairfield, Ohio
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City of Fairfield, Ohio
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Article III

THE COUNCIL

§3.01 POWERS OF COUNCIL.

All powers of the City shall be vested in the Council except as otherwise provided by this Charter, the Constitution or the laws of Ohio. The Council shall provide for the exercise of the powers of the City as provided in Section 2.02 of this Charter. The Council shall also provide for the performance of duties and obligations imposed on the City by law to the extent such duties and obligations do not conflict with this Charter or ordinances or resolutions adopted by the Council. The establishment of rates for public utilities shall be a power of the Council. The Council shall have authority to retain an independent certified public accountant or firm to audit some or all of the records and accounts of the City. (Amended 6-8-82)

§3.02 COMPOSITION OF COUNCIL; TERM OF OFFICE.

The Council shall consists of seven members. Three members shall be elected from the City at large. Four members shall be elected from wards or districts of the City. Members of Council shall hold office for terms of four years commencing on the first day of January following their election. (Amended 11-5-96)

§3.03 WARDS, DETERMINATION AND REAPPORTIONMENT.

(A) The existing ward boundaries in effect on the effective date of this Charter shall remain in effect until changed as provided in this Charter.

(B) No later than the 15th day of January, 1981 and every five years thereafter, or at any other time in order to provide substantially equal population in each ward, the Council shall, by motion, appoint a Ward Boundary Review Commission consisting of either three or five electors of the City. No more than two-thirds of the Commission's membership shall be registered to vote in the primary of the same political party. The Commission shall study the need to reapportion the City's four wards and shall report its findings and recommendations no later than twelve months after their appointment. The report shall be filed with the Clerk of Council, and shall be in the form of a proposed ordinance or resolution, approved as to form by the Director of Law. The Council shall have sixty days after the report is filed with the Clerk of Council to approve or reject the report submitted by the Commission by the passage of the ordinance or resolution proposed by the Commission or the passage of an appropriate ordinance or resolution rejecting the report. If the Council shall reject the report of the Commission, the Council shall reapportion the City's four wards by the passage of an ordinance or resolution within one hundred eighty days after the date of the filing of the Commission's report with the Clerk of Council. If the Council rejects the report of the Commission but fails to reapportion the wards within one hundred eighty days after the filing of the Commission's report with the Clerk of Council, the ordinance or resolution constituting the report of the Commission shall become effective as fully as if it had been passed by the Council. Any ordinance or resolution reapportioning wards or adjusting ward boundaries shall become effective immediately, but shall be subject to the initiative and referendum powers of the people, as provided for in this Charter. Any reapportionment or adjustment of ward boundaries under this section shall provide for substantially equal population in each ward.

(C) All wards shall be bounded, as far as practical, by county lines, streets, alleys, avenues, public grounds, canals, watercourses, Municipal boundary lines, center lines of platted streets or railroads, or lot lines of platted subdivisions. Redivision of the City into wards by the Council or the Commission shall not terminate or otherwise affect the unexpired terms of ward Council members; however, at succeeding elections, ward Council members shall be elected from the wards as reapportioned or re-established under this section.

§3.04 COUNCIL PRESIDENT.

The Mayor shall be the President of the Council and shall preside at all meetings of the Council, but shall have no vote on any matter before the Council except in the case of a tie vote among the members of the Council. The Mayor shall appoint the members of the Committees created by the Council. As president of the Council, the Mayor shall have such other powers and duties, if any, as provided by rules adopted by the Council.

§3.05 VICE-MAYOR.

At the first meeting of the Council in January of each even numbered year, the Mayor shall appoint a member of the Council to serve as Vice-Mayor and President Pro-tempore of the Council to serve at the pleasure of the Mayor. During the temporary absence or disability of the Mayor, the Vice-Mayor shall exercise all the powers, duties and functions of the Mayor, provided that the Vice-Mayor shall retain his or her membership on the Council and shall be entitled to vote on all matters coming before the Council, but the Vice-Mayor shall not be entitled to vote to break a tie vote where he or she has previously voted on the issue. (Amended 11-3-98)

§3.06 CLERK OF COUNCIL.

The Council shall appoint, by a majority of its members, a person to serve as the Clerk of Council. The Clerk of Council shall serve at the pleasure of the Council and may be removed without cause by a majority vote of the members of Council. The Clerk of Council shall have those powers, duties and functions as are provided in this Charter, by the Rules of Council, or by ordinance or resolution. Included in the duties of the Clerk of Council shall be the maintenance of a record of proceedings of the Council and a record of all ordinances and resolutions adopted by the Council. The Clerk of Council shall give notice of regular and special meetings of the Council to its members and to the public as may be provided by this Charter, the Rules of Council or by ordinance or resolution. The Clerk of Council shall be subject to the supervision and control of the officers of the Council, and shall hold no other paid employment with the City.

§3.07 COUNCIL MEETINGS.

(A) The Council shall determine, by a majority vote of its members, the frequency, dates and times of regular meetings in order to properly conduct its business. At the beginning of each term, the Council shall determine and publicly announce the times, dates and places of meetings to be held other than at the Municipal building for the sole purpose of obtaining citizen comments and input into the affairs of the City.

(B) Special meetings of the Council may be called, for any purpose by the Mayor or any two members of the Council upon at least twelve hours written notice to the Mayor and each member of the Council, which notice may be served personally or left at the usual place of residence. Members of the Council and the Mayor who attend special meetings of the Council or who are present at another regular or special meeting where a special meeting is announced by the presiding officer need not receive notice of the special meeting. Any member of Council may waive notice of a special meeting of the Council, either prior or subsequent to the meeting. The Council may consider and act on only those matters that are announced at another regular or special meeting of the Council or specifically set forth in the notice or waiver of the special meeting; provided such other matters that are related to the matters so announced or set forth in the notice or waiver of the special meeting may also be considered and acted upon.

§3.08 COUNCIL RULES; ORGANIZATIONAL MEETINGS.

The Council shall be a continuing body, but shall meet in the Council Chamber at its first meeting in January of each even numbered year for the purpose of organization. Council shall adopt, by majority vote of its members, its own Rules which shall not conflict with this Charter and which shall remain in effect until amended, changed or repealed by a majority vote of the members of Council. The Rules shall go into immediate effect unless a later date is specified, and shall not be subject to initiative or referendum. The Rules of Council shall provide: for the number and composition of committees of Council, if any, subject to the Mayor’s right to appoint members of Council to its committees, and such other matters as Council shall determine to be necessary for the proper functioning and government of Council. (Amended 11-3-98.)

§3.09 COMPENSATION.

(A) Compensation, salaries, wages, fringe benefits and other terms and conditions of employment of employees and appointed officials of the City shall be established pursuant to ordinances or resolutions adopted by the Council.

(B) The compensation of elected officials of the City shall be established by the Council, by ordinance or resolution, for their ensuing term of office at least thirty days prior to the date fixed under this Charter for candidates to file for such elected office. Such ordinance or resolution shall be deemed to be established under this division if it shall have been passed by the Council, even though it has not yet become effective. The compensation of an elected official shall not be changed during his or her term of office. In the event Council shall fail to establish compensation as required in this section, the compensation in effect for the prior term of office shall remain in effect until changed in accordance with this section. (Amended 11-3-98.)

§3.10 COUNCIL VACANCIES.

Vacancies in the membership of the Council shall be filled for the unexpired term by a majority vote of the remaining members of the Council within sixty days after the vacancy occurs. If the Council shall fail to fill the vacancy within the sixty day period, the power of the Council to fill the vacancy shall lapse and the Mayor shall fill the vacancy by an appointment for the unexpired term.

§3.11 CITIZEN COMMENTS.

The Council shall afford any person desiring to speak an opportunity to speak at any meeting of the Council. The Council shall, by its rules, regulate the frequency, time, place upon the agenda, and rules of conduct of such persons to assure an orderly and efficient consideration of its business. Any person speaking at a meeting of the Council may file written comments pertaining to his or her statement with the Clerk of Council within three days after the meeting at which the statement was made, and such written statement shall be distributed by the Clerk to the members of the Council and shall be retained in an appropriate record or file of the Council for the same period of time as minutes of the Council are retained.

§3.12 COUNCIL INVESTIGATION.

The Council, or a committee thereof when authorized by the Council, may inquire into and investigate the conduct of any officer, department or unit of the City or any City contract, expenditure by the City or any other matter affecting the City. In the exercise of its power granted by this section, the Council shall have the power to compel the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of books, papers, and other evidence on its own motion or through the process of any appropriate court or officer thereof; and the Council may adopt ordinances or resolutions imposing penalties for failure or refusal of persons to comply with its lawful orders under this section.