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Posted: Monday, 04 August 2014 11:10PM

To Shrink Or Not To Shrink

A ballot issue voted down three years ago is being revisited by the Benton Harbor City Commission. A vote Monday again allows citizens to decide whether they want to shrink the size of city government. Proposed charter amendments would rid all Ward Commissioners, leaving only Commissioner at Large seats to represent residents. The change would bring the current number of nine commissioners down to five. Commissioner Marcus Muhammad says it's unfortunate this is again being brought to the voters.




Mayor James Hightower says the commission needs to be brought down to its right size.




Commissioner Duane Seats wants to see the smaller body.




The vote was not without controversy. The resolution passed Monday was over shadowed by debate of the meeting's agenda.




Some commissions claimed they never received an agenda which included the proposed charter amendments. Others claimed they did. Commissioner Marcus Muhammad called to table the resolution, but that failed.




Commissioner Juanita Henry wants legal advice on the matter. She alleges she never receive any information about that agenda item. A resolution approving the proposal was ultimately adopted. It now goes to the city's state appointed advisory board. If voters were to pass it in November, all ward commissioners would then need to run for reelection in November of 2015 to fill the At Large seats.



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