Wooster is a charter city. This means that it has adopted a model of home-rule government in accordance with the home-rule provisions found at Article XVIII of Ohio’s Constitution. Wooster’s Charter was originally adopted by the city’s electors on May 2, 1972.
The charter outlines the form of our municipal government. Its ten sections-called Articles-describe the form of government (Mayor-Administrator-Council); the powers and duties of the City Council; the powers and duties of the Mayor; the organization of the administrative branch; the civil service; taxation and finance; qualifications for office and elections to office; the organization of Wooster Community Hospital; and various general provisions, including the open meetings requirement and the decennial (every 10 years) charter review process.
With regard to the charter review process, every ten years the City Council appoints a panel of citizens to review the Charter and make recommendations as to proposed changes to the Charter. Their recommendations are presented to the City Council, which then votes to place the recommendations on the ballot, at which time all city electors may cast a vote to approve or disapprove of the proposed amendments. In the past, charter review commissions have been appointed in 1980, 1990,2000 and 2010.
The current commission was appointed in February 2020. It held numerous public meetings to review the Charter and hear from those citizens who have wanted to offer testimony or suggestions for potential amendments to the Charter. As a result of those meetings and its deliberations, the commission prepared a preliminary draft of proposed amendments to the Charter. City Council has approved those recommendations and passed Ordinance 2020-20. The amendments now come before the voters at the November 3, 2020 election.