10:00 PM PDT on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Press-Enterprise

The Riverside City Council will pick nine members for a committee to review the city charter, a process that in 2004 ended with 12 proposed changes going before voters.

The council voted Tuesday to form a committee, which will begin work in January and bring any proposed changes to the council by early 2012.

The vote was unanimous and without discussion.

The city clerk will take applications, the mayor’s nominating and screening committee will choose applicants to interview, and the council and mayor then will vote on the committee roster by the end of this year.

The charter is the city’s constitution and describes council members’ powers and duties, the structure of city government, when council elections are held and other rules.

Voters must approve any changes or additions to the charter, and the document must be reviewed every eight years.

After the last review, the council put 12 possible changes on the ballot and voters approved nine of them.

The approved changes included requiring that each ward be represented on city boards, requiring the city to have an ethics code, and putting the police review commission into the charter so only voters can change or do away with it.

Councilman Paul Davis recently said he’ll propose that the charter be amended to say council members’ jobs are full time — now it is silent on the issue — and that the city’s head finance official reports directly to the council rather than the city manager.

Councilman Mike Gardner has said that the requirement that boards and commissions have a member from each ward hasn’t worked out well and should be reconsidered.

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