Thursday, April 14, 2011

Realtor Robin Tucker appointed to City's Charter Review Commision

The City of Cedar Rapids at the recent regular City Council meeting on April 12, 2011, during the the consent agenda [PDF], appointed 13 members to serve on the Cedar Rapids Charter Review Commission. Section 7.02 of the Home Rule Charter [PDF] calls for a Charter Review Commission in the year 2011 and every ten years thereafter.

The Resolution appointed Paul Pate (co-chair), Kay Halloran (co-chair), Nancy Bruner, LaNisha Cassell, Monica Challenger, James Craig, Patricia (Tricia) Miller, Mary Nelson, Fatima Smejkal, Scott Overland, Robin Tucker, Nancy Welsh and Carleton Whiting (terms effective through 08/15/11) to the Charter Review Commission. Many of the Commissioners were taken from applications.

Background: The City’s Home Rule Charter Section 7.02 requires that a Charter Review Commission be established in 2011. The commission shall review the existing charter and may recommend any charter amendments that it deems appropriate to the council. Mayor Corbett along with all Council members each chose one individual and four at-large individuals to serve on the Charter Review Commission. The group’s final report should be submitted by 08/15/11. Recommendations by the charter can either be approved by the Council or submitted for voter approval. Ballots are printed in September for the November election and therefore recommendations from the Charter Review Commission must be submitted by August.
In 2004-05, the local Home Rule Charter Commission was formed, as 15 member commission to recommend to the voters an alternative form of goverment to the the current Commission form of government, at the time. In May 2005, the Home Rule Charter was constructed and presented to Mayor Paul Pate and the City Council. In June of 2005, by a vote of 69% support, the City of Cedar Rapids voted to move to Home Rule. The City had been under the old Commission form of government from 1908 to 2005. Cedar Rapids was one of the last cities above 100,000 still using the Commission form.

Today, the City of Cedar Rapids operates under the Home Rule Charter form of government as prescribed by Chapter 372 of the Code of Iowa. As section 4.01 as the Cedar Rapids, Iowa Code of Ordinances points out: The Home Rule Charter ("the charter") is set forth in this code as an unnumbered chapter. The Home Rule Charter [PDF] draws from the popular Iowa form of government: the Council-Manger form, along with some of the traditions of local government in Cedar Rapids, such as "citizen participation" in boards and commissions, which was a popular part of our commission form of government.

Robin Tucker served together on the Home Rule Charter Commission in 2004-05, along with Nancy Bruner. Ms. Bruner served as one of the co-chairs, while Mr. Tucker served as drafting chair on that previous commission. I look forward to the opportunity to serve with Nancy again, along with the other members who have been appointed the Commission.

The two co-chairs of the recently appointed Charter Review Commission are the most recent outgoing mayors for the City of Cedar Rapids. Mr. Pate was the last Mayor under the previous form of government, while Ms. Hollarn was the first Mayor elected under our Home Rule form of government. The other nine members of the Commission appear to represent a cross section of our community. Commission work is schedule to begin on May 5, 2011 and the Mayor and Council have instructed the Commission that they have until August 15, 2011 to compete the work of the Commission.


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