Over the next few months the Detroit Regional Chamber will review and consider proposed amendments to the City of Detroit's Charter, as members of the Detroit City Council are expected to offer several amendments for consideration. This is being prompted by the events impacting the legislative and executive branches of the City of Detroit over the past nine months, which have revealed some deficiencies in the wording and relevancy of the current City Charter. It is apparent that many provisions of the current Charter are either too vague or outdated.
A city charter establishes the form of government, its officials, how those officials are selected, their terms of office and their duties and powers. It prescribes procedures to be followed in operating the government of the city and establishes safeguards which protect the citizens against misuse of municipal authority (1).
Single issue changes or amendments to the Detroit City Charter can be placed on the ballot either by a vote of the city council or by petition initiative. A more comprehensive general charter revision process may be placed before the voters by the City Council or by a petition initiative.
The most recent general charter revision was approved by voters in 1996 and became effective January 1, 1997.
Since the effective date of the Detroit City Charter a number of amendments have been approved and several have been voted down by voters.