To access more information on the proposed Charter Amendments go here.
Why does the City need voters to consider Charter amendments? Why can’t the City Council just approve these changes?
Redwood City is one of approximately 120 charter cities in California. The City Charter is often referred to as the “constitution” of a charter city; a charter sets out the foundational governing structure and laws for a charter city. Charter provisions can only be amended by majority vote of a city’s electors, and they cannot be superseded by City Council action.
How were these recommended amendments developed?
On January 23, 2017, the City embarked on the path of proposing amendments to the Redwood City Charter. The Charter Review Sub-Committee held several meetings open to the public (on June 12, 2017, August 21, 2017, October 18, 2017, May 14, 2018 and June 11, 2018), considering multiple amendments to the Charter. The City Council reviewed the Committee’s recommendations for proposed Charter Amendments on December 4, 2017 and June 25, 2018. During its June 25, 2018 Council meeting, the City Council directed staff to prepare the documents necessary to place before the voters on November 6, 2018. On July 23, 2018 the City Council placed the Charter Amendments on the November 2018 ballot.
How will these changes benefit Redwood City?
These changes will help Redwood City keep effective procedures and policies, comply with state law, and have less confusion about the charter with more clear and concise language.
What Charter Amendments are Included in the Measure?
1. Public Noticing Procedures
Significant changes in print newspapers
Publishing full-text of ordinances in print newspapers is impracticable
Publication in accordance with procedures established by ordinance
Applicable to notices related to the sale of Port property, the filing of initiative, referendum, and recall petitions; the availability of the budget for public inspection; and adoption of ordinances
2. Term Limits for Boards and Commissions
Currently no term limits for boards and commissions
Limit the number of terms to four for all boards and commissions
Similar to limits on City Councilmembers
3. Appointment of City Clerk by City Manager
The Charter currently provides for the City Council to appoint City Clerk directly
To maximize organizational efficiency, City Clerk appointed by the City Manager
4. Local Residency Requirement for City Manager
Section 26 currently requires the City Manager to become a resident of the City
This requirement is unconstitutional under the California Constitution
Delete the residency requirement in its entirety to comply with State law
5. Consolidation of Financial Offices Enumerated in Charter
The Charter currently includes outdated positions
Assistant City Manager of Administrative Services acts as Director of Finance, Treasurer, and Auditor
Clarify that Director of Finance is a role to be performed as appointed by City Manager
Clarify that Director of Finance is also the City Treasurer and City Auditor (with exceptions)
Remove the outdated positions of Assessor and Collector
6. Budget Adoption Procedures
The Charter currently includes purely procedural steps that make the budget adoption process inefficient
These non-substantive steps do not increase transparency or public input
The Budget will be submitted to the Council at least 30 days before the new fiscal year and no resolution is required to set the date for budget adoption
The City Council would be required to adopt the budget before the beginning of a new fiscal year
7. Payments Made by the Public Library
The Charter provides that payments are made by the library - a likely holdover from when the library operations were independent from other City operations
Have the public library participate in the standard payment procedures applicable to all other departments
8. City Contracting Procedures for Public Works and Improvements
The Charter currently includes dollar thresholds related to contracting for public works of improvements.
Inflation changes the purchasing power of these dollar amounts
The conditions and procedures for contracts for public works and improvements will be established by ordinance
9. Gendered Language and Standardized Usage
The Charter uses masculine language to describe City officials and staff and is inconsistent in capitalization and other usages
Masculine language replaced with gender-neutral language throughout
Capitalization and usage standardized
Other non-substantive cleanup
Why is the City considering Charter amendments?
The Redwood City Charter was adopted by the voters in 1929 and has been amended sixteen times since then, most recently in 2011. Periodically, the Council directs its Charter Review Sub-Committee to review the Charter and recommend any changes or updates. Based on Sub-Committee review, the City Council decided to ask voters to update the Charter in nine areas.