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City Council Approves Scope of Charter Study Task Force’s Work

Published on Tuesday, September 19, 2023 | 5:39 am

The City Council on Monday approved the scope of the work of a task force which will be formed to study and recommend potential amendments to Pasadena’s City Charter.

The Charter is the Citys ‘constitution;’ it outlines the organization, powers, functions, and essential procedures of the city’s government. It defines the relationship between the city government and residents.

Pasadena’s first City Charter was passed by Pasadena voters in 1901. Amendments to the Charter must be approved by a vote of the city’s residents.

The Charter Study Task Force will be charged with studying potential amendments related to City Council governance including City Council vacancy appointment process and ability to call a special election to fill an unanticipated Council vacancy, term limits, vice mayor appointment timing and term and timing of Mayoral election in relation to Council District elections. 

The task force will also conduct discussions on City Council compensation and family care benefits. 

The City Council agreed that potential amendments to technical topics  such as revised Charter language related to the annual Light & Power Fund transfer, increases to procurement limits which do not require City Council approval and Clean-up/make corrections to City Charter  will be discussed by City Council committees. 

The City Council also agreed that police oversight topics have to be discussed by the Community Police Oversight Commission (CPOC) first before it goes to the Public Safety Committee. 

Additionally, Councilmembers allowed the Pasadena Rental Housing Board to identify possible amendments to Measure H that will allow the body to operate in a “better manner.” They will submit their report to the City Council for approval.

In August 2022, the City Council expressed interest in reviewing the city’s Charter for possible amendments to address the City Council’s appointment process due to vacancy. In December, there was a request to review the role of the vice mayor.

Aside from the mentioned requests, several other topics related to the Charter were raised over the years. 

Changes to the Charter require a vote of the people which is called a Charter amendment and it can be initiated by the City Council or it could be a ballot measure initiative.

City Clerk Mark Jomsky said the City Council will make appointments to the task force in May and the task force’s meeting will start in June. 

The task force will be given about a year to study the above mentioned  topics and will present its final report in June 2024.

The deadline for the City Council to put up the Charter amendments on the ballot would be the first Monday of August 2024, according to Jomsky.

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