HAMMOND — Chairman Tony Piccard of the Home Rule Charter Review Committee told the City Council on Tuesday that after monthly meetings since February, the group is recommending significant changes to the document.
The council and Mayor Maison Foster appointed the seven-member committee to study the charter and offer advice on any changes deemed necessary to the document that has spelled out how the city is governed since approval by Hammond voters in the mid-1980s.
Piccard said the committee decided unanimously to recommend the following:
• Change City Council term limits from two four-year terms to three four-year terms.
e_SBlt Provide that the presiding officer of the council, a position that rotates on an annual basis among the five-member council, be paid $500 a month over and above the current $1,000 per month stipend paid to council members.
e_SBlt Allow the council to hire a separate legal adviser other than the city attorney, should circumstances dictate that a different attorney is necessary.
e_SBlt Allow the council to appoint a temporary mayor to serve should the mayor not be able to complete his or her term and the director of administration be unable to serve.
e_SBlt Provide that the police chief and fire chief both fulfill qualifications that would include such things as experience, education and other requirements that could be determined by the council.
e_SBlt Expand the prohibition against conflicts of interest to include connections to limited liability corporations. The change would prevent such corporations from doing business with the city if they had ties to a City Council member.
The council will review the committee’s recommendations and if it agrees with the recommendations will then present them to Hammond voters.
City Attorney Andre Co drain reminded the council that the review committee served only as an advisory group and that ultimately the council would have to decide if proposed changes to the charter should be submitted to the voters.