portsmouth-dailytimes.com

Councilman proposes City Charter amendments

Bret Bevens, PDT Sports Writer

November 23, 2012

Frank Lewis


PDT Staff Writer


First Ward Portsmouth City Councilman Kevin Johnson is asking Portsmouth City Council to consider several amendments to the Portsmouth City Charter, citing recommendations made by the Charter Review Committee in 1996.


The first change concerns the responsibilities of the city manager being subject to not only Civil Service provisions, but collective bargaining agreements as well.


Johnson’s proposal deals with Section 31 - Responsibility of Mayor - Powers of Appointment and Removal, and reads: “The city manager shall be responsible for the proper administration at all affairs of the city placed in his charge, and, to that end, subject to the Civil Service provisions of this Charter and/or Collective Bargaining Agreements and except as otherwise provided herein, he shall have the power to appoint and remove all officers and employees in the service of the city; but the city manager may authorize the head of a department or office responsible to him to appoint and remove subordinates in such department or office. Appointments made by, or under the authority of, the city manager shall be on the basis of executive and administrative ability and of the training and experience of such appointees in the work which they are to perform. All such appointments shall be without definite term unless for temporary service not to exceed sixty days.”


Johnson’s proposal would keep the 1987 wording the same except it would add “and/of collective bargaining agreements.”


The second proposal deals with typographical errors in Section 32 of the original Charter, and a title change.


One proposal is to change the spelling of “therefor,” to “Therefore;” and “apply” to “supply.” It would also change the final line of the Section to read - “A cophy of the statement of reasons for any layoff, suspension or removal, a copy of any written reply thereto by the officer or employee involved, and a copy of the final decision of the officer by whom the layoff, suspension or removal was made, shall be filed as public records in the office of the Secretary of Civil Service,” instead of the current, “Director of Civil Service.”


Johnson’s third proposal would bring the qualifications of City Solicitor to that recommended of Council, which is one year residency and continued residency, from five years. His fourth proposal would make the same change for qualification for City Auditor.


Johnson’s final proposal would eliminate the provision tht each signer of a petition to place a candidate on the primary election ballot pledges to support and vote for the candidate. The change would remove the following language from Part (c) of Section 144: “Such petition shall contain a provision that each signer thereto thereby pledges himself to support and vote for the candidate whose name is therein presented for a place on the ballot, and each elector signing a petition shall add to his signature his place of residence, with street and number, ward, voting precinct, date of signing, and may subscribe to no more nominating petitions of candidates for said office than the number of candidates to be nominated at such primary election.”


The new wording of Part (c) of Section 144 would be - “Such petition shall contain a provision that each elector signing a ptition shall add to his signature his place of residence, with street and number, ward, voting precinct, date of signing, and may subscribe to no more nominating petitions of candidates for said office than the number of candidates to be nominated at such primary election.”


Johnson is asking to have the Charter amendments discussed at the next Mayor’s Conference Agenda. That agenda is set for Monday night, Nov. 26 following the regular City Council meeting.


Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@heartlandpublications.com