San Bernardino Seal

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 12/14/14, 6:38 PM PST | Updated: 38 secs ago

SAN BERNARDINO >> Members of a citizens committee tasked with reforming the city charter will meet again Tuesday with lingering questions about what they’re supposed to accomplish.

The City Council formed the committee in March, giving it a tight timeline to study the city’s 46-page charter and recommend changes in time for November’s election.

Out of five changes the committee recommended, the council voted to put two on the ballot. Only one passed — and it wasn’t the change to police and firefighter salaries that committee members and the public had most discussed.

Voters shot down that salary method change, Measure Q, but approved Measure R’s change to civil service rules for dismissed employees.

Now, with two years until the next time voters can legally be asked to change the charter,committee members wonder if their study is still wanted.

“Have we not ostensibly gone through the charter and those areas that we thought were in need of change or reform, (and) made those recommendations?” Hillel Cohn of San Bernardino, who is rabbi at Congregation Emmanuel El in Redlands, asked in November, when the committee met for the first time since the election. “What else is there to do?”

With less than two months from the time the committee first met until its deadline to recommend changes to the council, there hadn’t been time to fully discuss broader changes — whether the charter should be fully replaced, or whether the City Manager’s Office should be made stronger at the expense of the mayor’s as is common in other cities, other members replied.

Chairman Phil Savage said committee members worked well together, and he thought there was significant work left to do.

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