What is a city charter? A city charter is like a constitution that outlines the principles, structures and process of government. It is a legal document that defines an organization, as well as its powers, functions and essential procedures. Like constitutions at federal and state governments, the City of Beaverton has a charter that describes the roles and powers of the Mayor, City Council and city officers, as well as the basic framework for how the city conducts business.
How does the city charter get changed? It gets changed by Beaverton voters. The City Council can initiate discussions and pass a resolution to refer a proposed charter to Beaverton voters for consideration, but Beaverton voters must approve the changes at an election.
Will there be a public vote? Yes, the Beaverton City Council referred the proposed city charter to Beaverton voters for the May 19, 2020, primary election.
What would the proposed city charter do? If the measure passes, the proposed city charter would outline details related to the city’s form of government, term limits and language preferences. These would include:
- The City Council would appoint a full-time City Manager for an indefinite term to oversee the city’s day-to-day operations. The City Manager would be an at-will employee who could be fired by a majority of the elected officials, consistent with local laws and their employment agreement. The city manager would not be an elected position.
- The City Council would increase from five members to include seven members: six part-time City Councilors and one full-time Mayor with voting privileges. The City Council would serve as the city’s governing body and be responsible for the city’s legislative functions. In addition to serving on the City Council, the Mayor would serve as the chief elected official.
- All City Council positions would be nonpartisan and elected at-large by Beaverton voters.
- The City Councilors and the Mayor would be limited to three consecutive four-year terms in office for their respective positions. A councilor or mayor who reached the three-term limit would be allowed to run again for election to the same office only after a break in service. The term limit does not prevent a term-limited mayor from running for election as a councilor, or a term-limited councilor from running for election as mayor.
- The new charter would remove gender-exclusive references.
- The mayor or a councilor could be removed from office for unethical or criminal conduct.
- The City’s indebtedness would not be allowed to exceed debt limits imposed by state law.
- A public hearing before the council would be required to adopt any ordinance.
How can Beaverton voters and community members get information about the proposed city charter? The City of Beaverton will provide information on the proposed charter to the community. A dedicated web page at www.BeavertonOregon.gov/Charter will be a source of information and will list upcoming activities.