BEAVERCREEK — Beavercreek City Council will soon vote on whether or not to send a change in how the city’s mayor is elected to voters in November.
Council heard mixed public input about the proposal – which would amend the city’s charter to allow voters to directly elect the city’s mayor – Monday night following the second reading of an ordinance about the issue.
“I don’t see any need to change the charter,” Beavercreek resident Carol Graff said. “I think the way we do it indicates we have a mayor, and it’s a member of council, no better, no worse. We should keep it that way.”
Currently, the city’s mayor is selected in the council member election every two years by virtue of being the candidate receiving the highest number of votes.
Under the proposal, voters would directly elect the city’s mayor to a four-year term beginning in the 2019 November general election. An individual could be elected to a consecutive four-year term as mayor for a total maximum term of eight years in the office, but would have to leave council for four years before returning.
Members of council would be term-limited at a combination of two four-year terms between the offices of council member and mayor.
The mayor’s office would still largely be a ceremonial one, and the mayor would have, with small exceptions, the same power as that of other city council members. The council candidate receiving the most votes in each council election would be elected vice mayor for the first two years of his or her four-year term, under the proposal.
Resident Phil Parker spoke in favor of the proposal at the meeting Monday: “… It would be better for us to have a mayor that was elected by the citizens of Beavercreek, because they understand what that person’s goals and guidelines and some of the vision that they might have for this city,” he said. “Now it’s true that they would still sit on council and would only have one vote just like any other council member, but I think we all know that the mayors have certain duties … where they serve and they represent us as the chief elected official.”
Beavercreek resident Jerry Petrak noted one “drawback” to the proposal: “… If you have a contested contest where you have two people running [for mayor], one is not going to make it, that’s going to be sitting out,” he said. “That’s probably some really good talent that you could use on council.”
Council is expected to consider the third reading of issue at its June 27 meeting. Five members of council would need to vote in favor of the issue for it to go to the ballot.
If voters did consider the issue in November and turned it down, the city would continue to elect its mayor as it has previously.
Those at Council’s Monday meeting remembered Florence Thompson, a longtime Beavercreek resident, who died last week. Thompson was recalled as a diligent worker and a major influence on the city.
“I’ve known Flo for many, many, many years, and whether you agreed with her or whether you didn’t agree with her, she is a part of this community and has made a difference here,” Mayor Bob Stone said. “She will be missed.”
“I had an opportunity to collaborate with her on quite a few things and thoroughly enjoyed her company and conversation,” Council member Chad Whilding said. “I’d like to call her a friend. As a wise man once told me, she’ll be thought of as a great citizen of Beavercreek. She was involved with a lot of things and worked hard to kind of make Beavercreek what I think is good about Beavercreek.”
Reach Nathan Pilling at 937-502-4498 or on Twitter @XDGNatePilling.