City Charter Discussed at Brighton City Council Meeting
November 3, 2017
The Brighton City Charter, adopted in 1955 and unrevised since then, came under discussion with a member of the public at Thursday’s City Council meeting.
Brighton Resident Patricia Cole addressed the City Council at the final call-to-the-public Thursday night, wondering why her letter – asking that a charter commission be formed – had not been read. Cole said she sent the e-mail to all seven council members, plus the city manager, but had not gotten a response. Nor, she said, was her letter read at the meeting last night.
Mayor Jim Muzzin responded that revising the city charter is a very expensive proposition and council has not thought it necessary in the past to form a charter commission. Establishing such a commission would be the first step toward revising the charter, which would ultimately have to go before city voters.
Muzzin also stated that although as mayor he has the option of reading letters from constituents at council meetings, he is not required to do so. In addition, Muzzin told Cole the state has ruled that when a municipality refers to the gender of a person as “he” in its charter, such as in the case of Brighton, it’s interpreted to mean “he or she”. Cole has complained in the past about the charter not being "gender neutral".
When Cole asked what steps would be necessary to establish a charter commission, Muzzin responded that the support of at least two council members was required to bring the matter before council. He said further that at least four votes in favor would be required for the 7-member council to appoint a charter commission. (TT)