Charter Commission makes sense

The New Prague City Council is in the process of organizing a Charter Commission. While the city seems to have functioned just fine for many years without a commission in place, the city’s legal firm recently informed the council that it was in violation of the law by not having one. Mayor Chuck Nickolay, in the most recent city newsletter, noted that New Prague is “a home rule charter city that derives its powers from a home rule charter.” That charter defines specific powers of elected officials and appointed staff. Nickolay went on to say that home rule charter cities are required to have a Charter Commission in place, and that it should meet at least once a year to review any issues that pertain to the Home Rule Charter. New Prague’s charter was last revised in 1994, nearly 20 years ago. Many things have changed over that time, and it is a good move to put a process in place that would allow the city to update the charter to keep pace with those changes. In 1994, the biggest issues were the city council’s relationship with appointed bodies such as the Utilities Commission and Golf Board, moving elections from odd-numbered to even-numbered years and electing city council members atlarge instead of by ward. Those changes were made due to issues that arose over the years that needed to be addressed. The revised charter addressed those issues, and has served the city nicely since that time. While there are no readily apparent issues, it is a good idea to have a group that meets regularly to look at any issues that might be popping up. New Prague continues to be a growing community, and growth inevitably leads to change. A Charter Commission will study what changes might be needed and help the city to address them in an orderly way.
— Chuck Kajer