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Clawson Charter Commission

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Clawson Charter Commission

Get Involved Clawson!

For the first time in Clawson history, citizens will have the opportunity to elect fellow members of the community to propose revisions to the City of Clawson Charter! A charter is similar to a local Constitution—it prescribes procedures to be followed in operating local government, establishes the powers and duties of elected officials, creates safeguards to protect against misuse of authority, and provides opportunities for citizen involvement (Michigan Municipal League). 

All you have to do is stop by the City Clerk's Office at City Hall and pick up a "running for office" packet and collect a minimum of 25 signatures from residents of Clawson and drop off the signatures and necessary paperwork by July 20th at 4:00 p.m. For questions about running for office please contact the City Clerk's Office at 248-435-4500 ext. 116. 

Q: Who may serve as a Charter Commission?
A: Any registered voter of the City of Clawson (except city officers and/or employees,
whether elected or appointed) who has resided in the City for at least two years may run
for the office of charter commissioner

Q: How do I seek nomination?
A: By submitting to the City Clerk a nominating petition signed by 25 registered electors
of the City. Please contact the City Clerk for forms.

Q: What is the deadline for filing a petition for the Charter Commission offices that will be on the ballot for the November 2, 2021 election?
A: 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 20, 2021.

Q: What is the deadline for filing as a “write-in” candidate for the Charter Commission offices for the November 2, 2021 election?
A: 4:00 p.m. on Friday, October 22, 2021.If you file as a “write-in” candidate your name
will not appear on the ballot. Please contact the City Clerk for the correct form.

Q: What exactly will be on the ballot for the November 2, 2021 election?
A: Voters in the City of Clawson will have the opportunity to vote on (1) a proposal
regarding whether the City’s charter should be revised, and (2) candidates for nine seats
for the City Charter Commission. If the City’s voters vote in favor of revising the City’s
charter, the nine (9) candidates for the charter commission shall take office. 

Q: What is the Charter?
A: The City of Clawson’s charter is a legal document that establishes a basic framework
of law within the City. Over time, as the City changes and the needs of its residents and
property owner’s change, that legal framework can become “stale”. The City of Clawson’s
current charter dates back to 1940, although it has been amended several times since then.
Michigan law allows a city to organize a charter commission to perform a comprehensive
update/revision to the City Charter to meet the current and future needs of the City.

Q: What are the duties and responsibilities of a Charter Commissioner and the Charter Commission?
A: In short, to revise and update the City’s charter. The clerk presides at the first meeting,
administers the oaths of office, and acts as the clerk of the commission.

Q: What sorts of tasks will Charter Commissioners perform in revising the City’s Charter?
A: Tasks that the charter commission and commissioners will need to perform include:

  •  Participating in meetings of the charter commission and committees (which meetings will be open to the public)
  • Organizing: (1) selecting officers (Chairperson, Secretary, etc.); establishing a meeting schedule and timetable; and establishing committees (optional)
  • Keep a journal of their actions
  • Fill their vacancies (if applicable)
  • Developing a strategy to accomplish the goal of revising the charter
  • Proposing, reviewing, studying and revising proposed changes or modifications to the charter
  • Gathering community and City officials’ input regarding proposed changes to the charter
Q: Will Charter Commissioners receive pay for their service?
A: No, this is a volunteer position.

Q: How long with the Charter Commission be active (i.e. what kind of time commitment is involved)?
A: Revising a charter can be a lengthy process. It is likely that, from beginning to end,
the entire process will take more than one year, and possibly up to three (3) years. The
Charter Commission will meet periodically, and Michigan law authorizes charter
commission members to be paid for up to ninety (90) meetings. 

Q: Can Clawson residents be involved in the Charter revision if they are not elected to the Commission?
A: Yes. At a minimum, all Charter Commission meetings will be open to the public, and
consequently there will be at least one opportunity during each meeting for members of the
public to provide comment. The Charter Commission may also allow other opportunities
for public comment and input during its meeting. In addition to those opportunities,
members of the public would be able to provide written comments to the Charter
Commission regarding the Commission’s activities and/or proposed revisions to the
Charter. There may also be opportunities for public input as the Charter Commission
gathers facts regarding the revision process. The commission may also welcome input
from members of the public who express an interest in assisting the Commission with the
revision to the Charter, and it is possible that the Commission may seek out the assistance
of some residents with certain aspects of the revision process.

Q: Will the City Council, or other City officials, oversee the Charter Commission, direct the Commission’s priorities, or otherwise manage the Charter revision process?
A: Not in their official capacity. A charter commission is essentially an independent public
body, separate from, and not directly subordinate to, a city council. However, just like all
citizens and other members of the public, City Council members and other City officials
will have the ability to comment on the activities of the Charter Commission, and provide
input regarding the revisions to the Charter. The charter commission will have access to
legal counsel and staff expertise during the entire process.

Q: If the City Council doesn’t oversee the Charter revision, who will ensure that the revision is sound and meets the intended objectives?
A: Initially, the responsibility for directing the content of the revised Charter falls to the
Charter Commission. Then, once the Charter Commission completes its initial process of
revising the Charter, it must be submitted for review by the Governor’s office, which will
also involve review the Attorney General’s office for legal compliance. Ultimately, the
City’s voters will weigh in on whether the revised Charter is sound and in the best interests
of the City, as the revised Charter will need to be voted on before it would become law.

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