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City of Fairfield, Ohio

Article VIII

BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

§8.01 PLANNING COMMISSION.

(A) There is hereby created a Planning Commission consisting of seven members. The Planning Commission’s membership shall be comprised as follows:

  1. One person appointed by a majority vote of the members of the Board of Education of the Fairfield City School District to serve at the pleasure of such Board of Education. In the event such Board of Education shall fail to appoint such member within thirty days after this Charter is effective or a vacancy in such member’s office, the Mayor shall appoint a person to serve for one year after which such Board of Education shall appoint the member. The person appointed under this Division (A)(1) may be a member of the Board of Education or an officer or employee of the Fairfield City School District;
  2. One member shall be appointed by a majority vote of the Council form among the Council’s membership to serve at the pleasure of the Council, and such member of Council may be removed from membership on the Planning Commission, without cause, by a majority vote of the members of the Council;
  3. One member shall be appointed by a majority vote of the members of the Parks and Recreation Board from among its membership to serve at the pleasure of the Board, and who may be removed from membership on the Planning Commission, without cause, by a majority vote of the members of the Parks and Recreation Board;
  4. Four citizen members, one from each ward of the City, shall be appointed by a majority vote of the members of the Council. Each citizen member shall be an elector of the City and shall, at the time of appointment and during the term, reside within the ward he or she was appointed to represent. Citizen members shall serve for overlapping terms of four years each, except the first members appointed under this Charter shall be appointed so that two shall serve for a term of one year and two shall serve for a term of three years. Thereafter, each citizen member shall serve a term of four years.

(B) The Director of Development Services shall attend all meetings of the Planning Commission and may take part in all discussions of the Commission, but shall not have the right to vote on any matter before the Commission.

(C) The Planning Commission shall have the following powers, duties and functions:

  1. To authorize plans and maps, and modifications thereof.
  2. To develop and recommend a comprehensive plan, and modifications thereof, to the Council. The comprehensive plan, and modifications thereto, shall be adopted by ordinance or resolution. A concurring vote of at least two-thirds of the membership of Council shall be necessary to pass any ordinance or resolution adopting the comprehensive plan, or modifications thereto, which differs from the written recommendations of the Planning Commission, but in no event shall such ordinance or resolution be passed unless it receives at least a majority vote of the members of Council.

    The comprehensive plan shall consider and provide general goals and objectives for the:

    (a) Location, character and design of streets, alleys, viaducts, bridges, waterways, waterfronts, subways, boulevards, parkways, parks, playgrounds, airports and other public grounds ways, open spaces, buildings and other public property;
    (b) Location and character of public utilities (whether owned by the City or investor owned) for water, wastewater treatment, electric and gas service, transportation, communications and other purposes;
    (c) Preservation and care for historical landmarks, and the design and location of statutory and other works of art to be or which are located on the City’s property;
    (d) Development, redevelopment and renewal of the City;
    (e) The use of land and the zoning thereof within the City;
    (f) Subdivision and other land development regulations of the City;
    (g) Exterior design, signs, arrangement, texture and materials for public and private buildings and structures within the City, considering the historical or architectural value and significance of the building or structure and its relationship to the characteristics and features of the surrounding area. The Council shall implement the comprehensive plan by the adoption of appropriate ordinances and resolutions. The Council shall keep the Planning Commission informed concerning such ordinances and resolutions, and the Planning Commission shall monitor proposed actions of the Council upon its own initiative. In the event the Planning Commission or the Chairman thereof shall determine that any such proposed ordinance or resolution appears to be in conflict with the comprehensive plan, the Chairman of the Planning Commission shall immediately notify the Council in writing that such ordinance or resolution should be referred to the Commission for its review for consistency with the comprehensive plan. Upon receipt of such notice, the President of Council shall immediately refer such ordinance or resolution to the Commission and the Council shall not take further action thereon until it has received and considered the Commission’s written recommendations or until a period of thirty days after the referral of the ordinance or resolution to the Commission, whichever, occurs first. A concurring vote of at least two-thirds of the membership of Council shall be necessary to pass any such ordinance or resolution which differs from the written recommendations of the Planning Commission, but in no event shall such ordinance or resolution be passed unless it receives at least a majority vote of the members of Council. The failure of the Council to comply with this division shall not invalidate any ordinance or resolution adopted unless a civil action in an appropriate court is commenced by the Planning Commission, Director of Law or a taxpayer of the City to enjoin Council’s action within fifteen days after the passage of the ordinance or resolution. In the event such a civil action shall be commenced, the effectiveness of the ordinance or resolution may be stayed by the court, and in such event, the ordinance or resolution shall not become effective until such civil action is finally resolved by the courts. In reviewing the action of the Council, the courts shall determine if the action is in substantial compliance with the comprehensive plan. If such court determination is in the affirmative, the civil action shall be dismissed. If the court’s determination is in the negative, the action of the Council shall be enjoined until the Council’s action is in substantial compliance with the comprehensive plan or subsequent revisions to the plan.

    This section shall not give the Planning Commission any jurisdiction or control over the power of the Council to levy taxes or issue bonds, notes or certificates of indebtedness, and the validity of such tax levies and bond, note or other debt issues shall not be impaired or adversely affected by this section.
  3. To act as the Platting Commission of the City and to carry out powers and duties relating to platting as granted to it by the ordinances and resolutions of the City and the general laws of Ohio, to the extent such laws are not in conflict with and are consistent with this Charter and the City’s ordinances and resolutions;
  4. To perform such other powers, duties and functions as provided under this Charter, the ordinances and resolutions of the City, and the laws of the State of Ohio to the extent that such laws are not in conflict with and are consistent with this Charter and the City’s ordinances and resolutions.

§8.02 BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS.

(A) There is hereby created a Board of Zoning Appeals consisting of seven members to be determined as follows:

  1. One member shall be appointed by a majority vote of the Council from among its membership to serve at the pleasure of the Council. Such member may be removed from office on the Board, without cause, by a majority vote of the members of the Council;
  2. One member shall be appointed by a majority vote of the Planning Commission from among its members to serve at the pleasure of the Planning Commission. Such member may be removed from office on the Board, without cause, by a majority vote of the Planning Commission;
  3. Five citizen members who shall be electors of the City and who shall be appointed by a majority vote of the Council. Citizen members of the Board shall serve for overlapping terms of five years each, except that the members first appointed under this Charter shall serve for the following terms of office: one member shall serve for a term of one year; one member shall serve for a term of two years; one member shall serve for a term of three years; one member shall serve for a term of four years; and one member shall serve for a term of five years; and thereafter, each member shall serve for a term of office of five years.

(B) The Board of Zoning Appeals shall have those powers, duties and functions as are provided under this Charter, by the ordinances and resolutions of the City and the general laws of Ohio, to the extent those laws are not in conflict with and are consistent with this Charter and the ordinances and resolutions of the City.

§8.03 BOARD OF BUILDING APPEALS.

(A) There is hereby created a Board of Building Appeals consisting of six members to be appointed by the City Manager, subject to confirmation by the Council by a majority vote of its members. Members of the Board shall serve for overlapping terms of office of four years each, except that the members first appointed under this Charter shall serve for the following terms: three shall serve terms of office of two years each and three shall serve terms of office of four years each; and thereafter each member shall serve a four year term of office.

(B) Members of the Board of Building Appeals shall be electors of the City; and, to the extent feasible, one member each shall be appointed from the following occupations or professions: a building contractor, a registered mechanical engineer, a master electrician, a heating engineer, a master plumber, and an attorney-at-law licensed to practice law in Ohio. The builder, mechanical engineer, electrician, heating engineer, and plumber shall, to the extent feasible, have at least five years’ experience in the building construction industry. Failure of members of the Board to meet the occupational and experience qualifications as set forth in this division shall not cause a forfeiture of their office nor invalidate any action taken by the Board.

(C) The Board of Building Appeals shall have those powers, duties and functions as provided under this Charter and the ordinances and resolutions of the City. (Amended 6-8-82.)

§8.04 CIVIL SERVICE.

(A) There is hereby created a Civil Service Commission consisting of three members. Members of the Civil Service Commission shall be electors of the City at the time of their appointment and during their terms of office. Not more than two members of the commission shall be registered to vote in a primary election of the same political party. Members of the Civil Service Commission shall be appointed for overlapping three year terms of office by a majority vote of the members of the Council. The members of the Commission first appointed under this Charter shall be appointed as follows: one member shall be appointed for a one year term; one member shall be appointed for a two year term; and one member shall be appointed for a three year term; and thereafter, each member shall be appointed for a three year term of office.

(B) All compensated positions of the City shall be in the Classified Service of the City, except the following offices and positions which shall constitute the Unclassified Service of the City:

  1. The Mayor and members of Council;
  2. The City Manager;
  3. The Directors of the Departments of Law, Finance and Development Services, and the heads of all other administrative departments, except the Police Chief and Fire Chief (if such position is a full-time compensated position) and the Superintendent of Building Inspection and Zoning;
  4. Assistant Directors of Law and special legal counsel;
  5. Members of all Boards and Commissions established by this Charter or by ordinance or resolution;
  6. The Clerk of Council and other employees of the Council;
  7. Professional engineers employed by the City;
  8. Part-time, volunteer and paid-on-call employees of the City;
  9. Part-time members of the police department and members of any auxiliary police force or unit;
  10. Secretaries to the City Manager, Mayor, Director of Law, Director of Development Services and Director of Finance;
  11. The Secretary of each Board and Commission established by this Charter or by ordinance or resolution; provided that if such Secretary holds other employment within the Classified Service of the City, this section shall not exempt such person from the requirement of competitive examination to hold such other employment;
  12. Persons of exceptional professional or scientific qualifications;
  13. Consultants and others engaged to provide services as independent contractors;
  14. Seasonal employees who are not employed for more than one hundred twenty consecutive days or for more than one hundred twenty days in any one year.
  15. Special categories of employees employed under federal or state programs, as defined and authorized by the Civil Service Commission.
  16. The Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation. As used in this division, "part-time" means employment by the City for not more than thirty hours per week, on the average over the period of any one calendar year.

(C) Officers and employees in the Classified Civil Service of the City shall be appointed and promoted pursuant to competitive examinations, to the extent practicable, and shall be dismissed, suspended or otherwise disciplined, for cause only, pursuant to the powers granted by Division (E) of this Section. Officers and employees in the Unclassified Service of the City shall not be appointed or promoted pursuant to competitive examination and shall serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority and may be removed, suspended or otherwise disciplined without cause, except as may otherwise be provided in portions of this Charter applicable to such officers or employees.

(D) The City Manager shall be the appointing authority with the power to appoint, promote, remove, suspend or otherwise discipline:

  1. All officers and employees in the administrative departments, or sub-units thereof, except the Department of Law, subject to the provisions of this Section 8.04 pertaining to Civil Service;
  2. Employees of each Board or Commission created by this Charter or by ordinance or resolution, subject to the provisions of this Section 8.04 pertaining to Civil Service. The Secretary of each Board and Commission shall be appointed by the Board or Commission as provided in Section 8.08 of this Charter.

The Director of Law shall be the appointing authority for that department with the power to appoint, promote, remove, suspend or otherwise discipline officers and employees within that department, subject to the provisions of this Section 8.04 pertaining to Civil Service.

(E) The general laws of Ohio pertaining to civil service in general statutory plan cities shall apply to the City under this Charter, except as such laws may conflict with or be inconsistent with the provisions of this Charter; and further provided that the Council may, by ordinance or resolution, upon the recommendation of the Civil Service Commission, eliminate or modify the application of specific provisions of those laws to the City and substitute local procedures or provisions in lieu of the specific provisions of those laws. Such action by the Council shall be taken only after the ordinance or resolution has been considered at meetings held on at least three separate days. Any such ordinance or resolution shall be adopted only upon a vote of three-fourths of the members of the Council. No such ordinance or resolution shall be adopted as an emergency measure.

(F) The Civil Service Commission of the City shall administer the civil service provisions of the general laws of Ohio for the Classified employees of any school district, health district, court or other unit of government to the extent and if required under the general laws of Ohio. The City may receive funds from such other units of government for the services rendered to them. (Amended 6-8-82; 11-6-84; 11-4-86; 11-2-99; 11-5-02)

§8.05 PARKS AND RECREATION BOARD.

(A) There is hereby created a Parks and Recreation Board consisting of seven members to be appointed as follows:

  1. Five members shall be electors of the City and shall be appointed for overlapping three year terms of office by a majority vote of the members of the Council, provided that the terms of no more than two of such five members shall be for the same three year period and provided further that Council shall appoint at least one elector from each ward of the City from among such five members (Amended 11-3-98)
  2. ne member shall be appointed by a majority vote of the members of Council from among its membership to serve at the pleasure of the Council, and such member may be removed from membership on the Board, without cause, by a majority vote of the members of the Council;
  3. One member shall be appointed by the Board of Education of the Fairfield City School District, by a majority vote of its members, to serve at the pleasure of the Board of Education, and such member may be removed from membership on the Board, without cause, by a majority vote of the members of the Board of Education. Any member of the Board of Education or officer or employee of the School District may be appointed as such member of the Parks and Recreation Board. In the event such Board of Education shall fail to appoint such member within thirty days after this Charter takes effect or a vacancy in such member's office, the Mayor shall appoint a person to serve for one year after which such Board of Education shall appoint the member.

(B) Except as may be otherwise provided in this article and Charter, the Parks and Recreation Board shall have the following powers, duties and functions:

  1. To determine the programs and activities of the City regarding parks and recreation. Such programs and activities and the Department of Parks and Recreation shall be administered, operated, maintained, directed, controlled and supervised by the City Manager;
  2. The compensation and the number of employees provided for Park and Recreation programs and activities shall be determined by the Council. Upon authorization of the City Manager, employees provided for Park and Recreation programs and activities may be utilized to perform work for the other departments, or sub-units thereof, and boards and commissions of the City;
  3. The appointment and/or promotion of the Director and Assistant Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation by the City Manager shall be subject to the prior approval of the Parks and Recreation Board.
  4. To recommend to the Council that the Council submit additional tax levies and bond issues to a vote of the electors to provide for current operating expenses and permanent improvements for parks and recreation purposes. This division shall not limit or expand the Council's power to levy taxes or to issue bonds for parks or recreation purposes;
  5. To authorize expenditures of moneys and the awarding of contracts for the operation and maintenance of the City's parks and recreation programs as provided by Section 9.02 of this Charter;
  6. When the City owns or is trustee of property or funds donated to the City for park purposes, such property or funds shall be managed and administered, on behalf of the City, by the Parks and Recreation Board in accordance with the provisions and conditions of the deed of gift, devise, bequest or other instrument making the donation or creating the trust; and the Board shall have, in addition to powers granted by this Charter and the City's ordinances and resolutions, the powers granted to boards of park trustees under Section 755.22 of the Revised Code of Ohio, as it may be amended from time to time, or any successor statute to that Section, to the extent such statutory powers are not in conflict with and are consistent with this Charter;
  7. To adopt rules and regulations and systems of streets, boulevards, or parkways as the Board believes to be in the best interest of the efficient and orderly use and operation of the City's parks and recreation areas. Such rules and regulations shall be adopted in the same form and manner provided by this Charter for the adoption of ordinances and resolutions by the Council and shall be effective as an ordinance of the City. Copies of such rules and regulations and the proceedings of the Board relative to their adoption shall be filed with and maintained by the Clerk of Council;
  8. Property under the control of the Board shall not be transferred, or used for any but park or recreation purposes except with the consent of the Board. The Board shall have all other powers conferred upon boards of park commissioners by general laws which are not in conflict with this Charter, but Council may modify such laws and may designate boulevards, streets and highways in the parks and parkways as part of the public street and road system of the City, and give to the City Manager supervision over the construction, repair and maintenance thereof. Such action shall be by ordinance which, unless it is approved by the Board of Park Commissioners, shall require a vote of three-fourths of the members elected to the Council;
  9. To perform such other powers, duties and functions as conferred on the Board under this Charter or by the ordinances and resolutions of the City.

(C) The Director of Law shall be the legal advisor to the Board, the Director of Finance shall be the chief fiscal officer of the Board, as provided in the provisions of this Charter specifying the powers, duties and functions of the Directors of Law and Finance. The City Manager shall function as, or designate another administrative officer or employee of the City to serve as liaison and coordinator between the Board and the City's other departments or sub-units thereof, boards and commissions.(Amended 6-8-82; 11-6-84; 8-8-88; 11-2-93.)

§8.06 CHARTER REVIEW COMMISSION.

(A) After the first day of January but before the first day of April of each even numbered year, each member of Council shall appoint, by a writing filed with the Clerk of Council, an elector of the City to serve as a member of the Charter Review Commission. Members of the Commission who are appointed by ward Council members shall, at the time of appointment and during their term, be residents of the ward represented by the member of Council who made the appointment. The seven members so appointed shall constitute the Charter Review Commission hereby created. Members of the Commission shall serve until reappointed or their successors are appointed pursuant to this division. (Amended 11-3-98.)

(B) The Commission shall meet at such frequency as it may determine to be necessary, provided the Commission shall hold an organizational meeting to select its officers no later than the fifteenth day of May in each even numbered year, and the Commission shall hold at least one meeting annually at which a public hearing is held to receive the comments and recommendations of members of the general public concerning the Charter and its provisions. The Commission shall make recommendations, if any, to the Council for revisions or amendments to the Charter as it shall determine to be appropriate. The Council may submit any amendments or revisions recommended by the Commission to a vote of the electors in the manner provided by the Constitution of Ohio. The Council shall appropriate adequate funds to the Commission to permit it to perform its powers, duties and functions, including amounts required to pay consultants or special legal counsel selected by the Commission.

§8.07 OTHER BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS.

The Council may create, change and abolish other boards and commissions as it determines to be necessary, and may provide for their organization, membership, terms of office of members, powers, duties and functions by ordinance or resolution. The Council shall not have the power to abolish or change the boards and commissions established by this Charter.

§8.08 ORGANIZATION, VACANCIES, EX-OFFICIO MEMBER.

(A) Unless otherwise provided in this Charter, each of the City's boards and commissions, whether created by this Charter or by ordinance or resolution shall:

  1. Organize by April 30 of each year by electing a chairman, vice chairman and secretary. The chairman and vice chairman shall be members of the board or commission and the secretary may be elected from within or without the membership of the board or commission. The secretary shall keep an accurate and complete record of the proceedings of the board or commission; and shall file a copy of its proceedings with the Clerk of Council for public inspection; (Amended 11-3-98.)
  2. Take action by motion, and a majority vote of the members of the board or commission shall be necessary to take action. A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum. All members of boards and commissions shall be electors of the City;
  3. Adopt rules for the conduct and government of the board or commission, however, the rules shall not conflict with the provisions of this Charter or ordinances and resolutions of the City.

(B) Unless otherwise provided in this Charter, a vacancy during the term of any member of a board or commission created by this Charter or by ordinance or resolution shall be filled for the unexpired term, if any, in the manner authorized for an original appointment; provided that if such appointing authority shall fail to fill the vacancy within thirty days, the Mayor shall fill the vacancy by appointment for the unexpired term, if any. This division shall be subject to applicable provisions of this Charter concerning removal, with or without cause, of members of boards and commissions.

(C) The City Manager, or his or her designated representative, shall be an ex-officio member of all boards and commissions. In such capacity, the City Manager or the designated representative may, but shall not be required to, attend meetings of the board or commission and may participate in discussions on any matter before the board or commission, but the Manager or the designated representative shall not be entitled to vote on any matter before the board or commission. The City Manager, or the designated representative, shall not be counted in determining quorum requirements or the majority required for the board or commission to take action. This Division (C) shall not apply to any board or commission where the City Manager is a regular voting member of the board or commission. (Amended 6-8-82)

§8.09 COMPENSATION PROHIBITED.

Members of boards and commissions shall not be paid any compensation for service thereon; provided that such members may be reimbursed for their necessary expenses, when authorized by an appropriation or ordinance or resolution passed by the Council. This section shall not prohibit any person who serves on a board or commission by virtue or in connection with another office or position of employment with the City from receiving compensation for such other office or position of employment.