Tuesday’s elections will not only involve voting for candidates but also on various issues at the state and local levels. I’ve written about the state issues on the ballot and you can find those here. Today, I recommend a NO vote on ALL St Charles County Charter Amendments! Here’s why.
On Tuesday, St Charles County voters will see six (6) questions on the ballot seeking to change the County Charter. With one exception, everyone of these questions was introduced on August 13, 2012 and approved on August 27, 2012. There was little to no public discussion by the Council of these proposed changes to the County constitution – the charter. Aside from the normal public comment period which is limited to three (3) minutes per person with six (6) people allowed to speak per meeting, there was no opportunity afforded the public to ask questions or provide input on these proposed changes.
Many of the questions on the ballot are somewhat misleading, combine multiple changes into one question and/or represent significant changes to County operations. The fact the Council decided that the public didn’t need to have any time to discuss these changes whether large or small warrants a strong repudiation of their actions by voting NO on ALL Charter amendments!
The St Charles County Charter has clear requirements for passing an ordinance. Nothing can get on the ballot without that process. So hurried and rushed was the Council process for placing these items on the ballot that they violated the Charter provisions as determined by Judge Ted House on one bill and they did it again on at least one other bill that could be subject to litigation after November 6th if it is adopted. Fortunately, one of those bills was removed from the ballot.
Significant major changes are being proposed by several of the ballot questions. Voters of St Charles County should be concerned about the fact the Council purposely left them out of the discussion on these major changes to the Charter. Issues relating to removal and replacement of Council members and the wholesale change of the law enforcement function in the County deserved a full and public discussion that never took place!
The Council apparently has the view that it’s not their job to explain their actions to you. It’s your job as a voter between the time they passed it and November 6th to find out what the questions are all about and determine whether you want to approve them or not. Perhaps that might have worked if the Council had provided forums for laying out the proposals and having the public ask questions about them. That should have occurred before the vote to place them on the ballot. Sadly, it didn’t occur at all and that is an affront to the voters of St Charles County!
The voters of St Charles County should remind the County Council that it is OUR government not theirs. They are elected to represent us not establish fiefdoms and dictate outcomes to us. We should demand they be accountable to us and that they follow the provisions we have put in place via the Charter.
The best way to send the Council that message is for voters of St Charles County to vote NO on ALL Charter Amendments!