Charter Commission Updates
Charter Commission Proposals Go To the Voters
The Commission's proposed revisions to the City Charter will appear on the November ballot as eight separate questions, numbered 1 though 8. Printed ballots will show each question along with a summary. Further detailed information will be available at the polls.
In early October, the League's online voter guide, Vote411.org, will go live. It will offer balanced information about each question, including easy-to-read explanations of the consequences of voting "yes" or "no." Vote411.org will contain information about every race and ballot question statewide.
Viewing recordings of past meetings
Visit Portland's Agenda and Minutes Center to find recordings of past meetings. Use the Search box or scroll down the page to "Most Recent Events" for a list of meetings in reverse chronological order.
What is the Charter Commission?
The Portland 2020-2022 Charter Commission is charged with reviewing the City Charter and deciding what, if any, changes to recommend. Proposed changes will be put before the voters, most likely in November 2022.
The Portland Area League is closely following this process, which could lead to historic changes in city government. The Portland Area League will be attending all meetings, providing information of interest to our members, and testifying when warranted.
Compare Governance Proposals
Three proposals to reshape city government
If you are looking for a clear comparison of the three governance proposals that were considered by the Governance Committee before the full Commission developed a final proposal, the following table should help.
The Commission held workshops and hearings on three alternative proposals submitted by members of the Governance Committee. One of these, approved by three of Committee's four members, would add the position of Chief of Staff and make other substantive -- but not sweeping -- changes to the powers and interrelationships of the mayor, city council, and city manager. The second proposal, submitted by Commissioner Sheikh-Youself, would create a strong executive mayor with veto power and the power to hire department heads. The third proposal, submitted by Commisioners Chann, Lizanecz, and Stewart-Bouley, would also create an executive mayor but would retain the role of city manager.
Our research team has created a handy chart that compares the two proposals to the status quo.
Our survey of mayoral powers
One of the central questions before the Commission was the balance of power among the Mayor, City Manager, and City Council. Many candidates for seats on the Commission supported a "strong mayor" solution. To better understand this important issue, read our analysis of how mayoral powers are structured in the three Maine cities that have strong mayors, and how they compare to Portland's current structure.
The Structure of the City Council
What could be the impact of changing the size of the City Council, or of changing the current structure, which combines district-level with at-large seats? Here is our analysis of the impact of council make-up and election methods on diversity, responsiveness, effectiveness, and other values.
Which Cities Are Comparable to Portland?
When considering changes to city goverment, Charter Commissions may choose to compare Portland to other U.S. cities on various criteria. After careful consideration, our Research Team identified nine cities that are most comparable to Portland. Read their interesting findings in the chart below.