Portsmouth voters pass Charter amendments


Portsmouth voters spelled out something that has always existed, but Tuesday night they put it in black and white. One man or one woman – one vote. Sounds like a simple enough proposition, but during the last primary election, the Scioto County Board of Elections allowed Sixth Ward voters to vote for two candidates rather than just one – something that had never occurred in the city before.

That’s when First Ward Councilman Kevin W. Johnson authored legislation that would place that issue on the March 15 primary election ballot so that it would never happen again. Tuesday voters in the city chose to make the point clear – any voter can only vote for one of the two or three or four, or however many are running in the primary. As Johnson put it – “They would only have one vote.”

The city of Portsmouth will now have a Charter Review Commission to police needed changes and make recommendations to Portsmouth City Council as to the needed updates or lack of the same. Voters in the city passed the charter amendment that would to have a Charter Review Commission established at least every 10 years to review the Charter. If there’s no changes necessary no recommendations would be made. But if changes are needed, they can make recommendations to Council and Council can choose to act on it or not. When he laid the proposition out, Johnson was quick to stress that City Council is not bound by any recommendations made by the Charter Review Commission, but would, consider it and decide whether or not it is in the best interest of the city.

At the same time Tuesday, voters decided that the Charter needs to be changed to change the actual name of the job currently held by Trent Williams. That job title had been “the Department of Finance and Audit.” However, as pointed out by First Ward Councilman Kevin W. Johnson – “That position, currently held by Trent Williams does no auditing. There is no auditor in that office.” So the new job title is “the Department of Finance.”

Days before the election Williams came out against the Charter amendment saying his office does perform audits, so the name should remain, but voters disagreed and passed the amendment.

The plurality was over 60 percent for each amendment and around 30 percent in opposition.

By Frank Lewis

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Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

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