San Bernardino, CA
The San Bernardino City Council will soon consider whether voters will have an opportunity to approve and accept the city’s newly designed charter in November.
Two years ago, the council appointed a Charter Committee to facilitate the revision process. The committee was charged with reviewing the existing charter and recommending appropriate changes. The committee solicited public input and participation in the effort through a series of public meetings.
The nine-member committee diligently worked to align the new charter with the city’s federal bankruptcy recovery plan that called on the city to not only streamline the way it governs but to massage and pare down its operational procedures as well.
The newly revised charter, was reduced to only twelve pages from the existing charter’s nearly 50-page format. It included a recommendation that the city adopt a common organizational structure. The recommended city council-city manager structure is used by a large number of municipalities in California and across the nation.
In the recommended format, the mayor and council are responsible for policy and the city manager executes those policies and handles day to day operations. Despite this change, much of the way the city operates beyond that would remain the same. There will be no changes to the city’s existing ward structure. In mid-May, the council accepted the committee’s recommendations by vote of 5 to 2. There was however, a caveat—that the charter be amended to include a mandate for a city-run police department.
The council has held two public hearings on the charter since May. On Thursday, August 4, the council is scheduled to hold a final vote on whether to put the newly revised charter on the November ballot for voters to approve. For more information on the charter committees work visit ci.san-bernardino.ca.us/cityhall/city_clerk/volunteer_citizen_based_charter_committee_agendas.asp