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Joplin Possible City Charter Changes Proposed

Joplin city residents could decide nearly a dozen proposed changes to the city's charter.
JOPLIN, MO.--- I think they're asking us to take a look at some very hard issues," said Keenan Cortez, Charter Review Commission Citizen. 

Keenan Cortez is an active volunteer within the community and says he's honored to be on a panel made up of five former mayors and four Joplin residents.

"We're at a crossroads. We're at a time where we have recovered and we are moving forward. There's a lot of new industry and business coming into our community," said Cortez. 

In order to help the city move forward, the Charter Review Commission will work together to consider if nine items on the charter should be changed.

"We're happy to fulfill that and get public hearings and see where it goes and make recommendations and let them decide if it needs to go to ballot," said Ron Richard, Former Mayor and Charter Review Chairman. 
 
The city's charter can only change through a vote of the people, so it's up to the commission to determine if those changes should be placed on the April ballot.

"I think the biggest barrier we'll have to tackle is the mayor issue, whether it be an election or an appointment by the city council peers. I think that's going to be a hot topic, if you will, and there will be a lot of citizen input," said Cortez.

Since any of these possible changes will be left up to the citizens of Joplin, commission members are seeking as much public input as possible. 

"Our community changes over time. I think people change over time and the things that we need to do now are not the same things we needed to do back in 1954, when the charter first got started," said Cortez. 

Commission members are hoping to provide the best advice they have to city leaders, and residents, so that any charter changes will be good for the city.

"A timely discussion that is thoughtful and a recommendation to the council based on fact and let them make a decision," said Richard. 

"A vision that's going to point us forward and not take us backward. A vision that's going to encompass and include all citizens of Joplin, that they all have a voice in what goes on at city hall," said Cortez. 

The first public hearing is set for Monday, October 28th at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers. Residents will be asked to discuss the mayoral position and whether that person should be elected by the people. 

Other items up for consideration include, only allowing the mayor to vote in the event of a tie or if a supermajority is required by law, requiring a person to live in Joplin for two years, instead of four before running for city council. Removing zone council seats and making all general council seats. Limiting the number of terms a person can serve on council to three to four year terms.

Changing council's pay from $5 a meeting to $100 a month. Placing the city clerk under the city manager's authority. Placing the police chief under the authority of the city council and removing a clause that states the public works director should be a Missouri registered engineer.

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