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All five charter amendments pass handily

Term limits imposed, public comment period required

All five Sherwood charter amendments won handily in the May 20 election.

The measures effectively amend the city charter and, among other things, eliminate councilors running for specific positions, ensure residents can speak during a Sherwood City Council meeting and impose council term limits.

The council appointed a charter review committee, which began work last December, charging the group with referring any changes in the charter to the council, and ultimately to voters.

Here’s what the charter amendments will do:

• Eliminate councilors running for specific positions, instead allowing the top three councilors with the most votes declared winners. The measure would revert to the way council members were elected prior to May 2005.

• Ensure that the council reviews its adopted rules after each general election. The council currently has rules but they aren’t always clear. This would force the council to review its rules more frequently.

• Allow the public to speak during an open public comment period at every council meeting. Although the council already allows for comments from residents during public hearings, it isn’t necessarily required to open up the meeting for comments if it was something as simple as commenting on a resolution.

• Impose term limits mandating that no councilor could serve more than three consecutive terms. Under the ballot proposal, a person serving a partial term would be considered to have served the equivalent of a full term. As an example, if someone was appointed to serve only several months of a remaining council term, that person would only be allowed to serve two more full terms. While several Portland-metro cities including Hillsboro, Tigard and Lake Oswego mandate those council members serve no more than eight consecutive years, most nearby cities don’t have term-limit rules.

• Address issues of filling vacancies. New language will now state that an office becomes vacant if a person is elected to a different city office. Also, while a current requirement says that a council seat is considered vacant if an incumbent councilor is absent from three consecutive regular council meetings, ballot language would change that to declaring a vacancy if a council member misses “all meetings in a 60-day period.”

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