Charter Review Commission

What is a Charter and why do we want to update it?

  • Ohio's Constitution grants cities the power of local self-government, known as "home rule." The home-rule amendment was made to grant citizens of Ohio's cities "the right to control their own affairs" which includes the right to "frame, adopt, or amend a charter for its government." Xenia's Charter is essentially our city's Constitution and establishes the framework of the City's governmental organization. Xenia's first Charter was adopted in 1917 and since then, any updates - which are approved by voters - have been minimal. The last time Xenia's charter was comprehensively updated was in 1998.
  • It is important to update a City's Charter from time to time in order to ensure its government is operating efficiently. In November 2018, Xenia voters adopted Section 8.05 of the existing Charter, which requires City Council to appoint a Charter Review Commission in order to review the City's Charter and recommend updates.

Meet the Charter Review Commission

  • Jeanne O'Callaghan, Chair
  • Chelsey Garrett, Vice Chair
  • Howard Hostman
  • Mayor Sarah Mays
  • Councilman Thomas Scrivens
  • Nancy McPeak, Alternate

Front Row (L-R): Mayor Sarah Mays, Jeanne O'Callaghan, Nancy McPeak

Back Row (L-R): Chelsey Garrett, Howard Horstman, Councilman Thomas  Scrivens

The Charter Review Commission consists of a group of volunteer Xenia citizens who expressed interest in being involved in the process.  Section 8.05 B. (1) of the Charter says Commission shall consist of an odd-number of members from a minimum of five (5) to a maximum of eleven (11) members, and no more than two (2) of the members shall hold other elective office or employment with the City. 

Citizens members of the Commission do not receive compensation for their work and were appointed by  Xenia City Council  after expressing their interest to be involved. Two current members of City Council were also appointed to the Commission. The City's Appointed Officials also serve on the Commission; specifically the Law Director serves as legal counsel, while the City Manager and Finance Director serve as advisors to the Commission.

Why Charter updates are important:

  • The Charter Review Commission's intent was not to make radical changes to Xenia's Charter.  The mission, which began in July 2019, was to comprehensively review the Charter and improve three core issues:  transparency, public access, and efficiency.
  • The recommended updates do NOT alter the structure of the City's government and do NOT increase the salary of the Mayor and City Council members. The recommended changes update the Charter to coincide with State Law, reorganize existing information in an easier to understand pattern, refine procedures and policies to create more transparency and efficiency, and correct deficiencies. 
  • Read the full Xenia Charter, which is located here.
  • The Charter Review Commission's Final Report, which includes all the proposed changes to Xenia's Charter, has been presented to City Council and can be found in its entirety here.