BEND, OR -- Bend’s Charter Review Committee meets next week to work on finalizing a proposal to change how City Councilors are elected. City Manager Eric King says there are still a lot of options to consider before a resolution goes to voters. "We’re still contemplating should they be elected from the ward but having the whole city vote on them; we’re talking about issues of a ‘super ward,’ meaning you have four quadrants that are represented by a Councilor then two quadrants layered on top of that, that are represented by other Councilors; or, maybe a mix system, maybe having some Councilors elected at large and then some by ward." King admits it’s a complicated issue and says Councilors will be charged with deciding which version to send to voters.
The committee recently released a series of maps showing options for dividing the city into wards. King expects those options will be narrowed down over the next month. "Whatever would come out of this committee, it has to go to the voters for approval. So, our Charter is like our Constitution – it cannot be changed by elected officials or staff or anything, it has to go to the voters. So, the idea is: communicate it clearly and what problem are we trying to solve? How would this new proposed system address those problems? And, then voters would vote on it as early as May of 2018."
King tells KBND News, "We’ll have a work session with Council at the first meeting in December; I think it’s the sixth of December. And then, if all goes well, there would be a resolution putting it on the ballot the second meeting in December. That gives a good four or five months, and then it becomes a campaign of sorts. Then, a community dialog of – I’m sure there will be folks that will be for that or those that don’t want to see it."