Next Tuesday’s ballot in Blue Springs will feature ten proposals to amend the city’s charter, but voters shouldn’t consider them daunting changes, according to Jeanie Lauer, co-chair of the Charter Review Commission.
Lauer, a former Blue Springs City Council member as well as a former state representative, said the city requires a charter review every five years by an appointed commission, who go through it “line by line” and find areas that need to be improved as time goes on.
“Overall, everything is great as far as the city is concerned,” said Lauer. “The majority of these ballot initiatives are benign; they’re not controversial.”
These ballot initiatives include deleting sections that are no longer applicable, and raising the minimum age of a council member from 21 to 25. It also requires them to not be a registered sex offender.
The suggested changes also propose changing gender-specific pronouns in the charter to gender-neutral pronouns. The charter currently refers to “councilmen” and uses exclusively male pronouns, which according to Lauer, indicates a bias. Incorporating gender-neutral pronouns would include all council members and other city officials.
Lauer said the only major ballot initiatives are items six and seven, which she said provide further checks and balances in the local government. Item six allows for the City Council to remove the acting city attorney and city prosecutor by a five-sevenths majority vote, according to the ballot, both officials being appointed by the mayor.
Item Seven changes the minimum age of the city administrator from 21 to 25, and clarifies the number of council votes needed to remove the administrator from office, changing the language from two-thirds to five-sevenths to match the previous initiative’s wording.
Lauer said that overall the ballot initiatives coming before the voters aren’t controversial, and said the Charter Review Commission was unanimous in its support for the changes.