Four city councilors will make recommendations on appointing three of 12 members to the charter commission that will consider potentially major revisions to Portland’s form of government, including to the elected mayor and city manager positions.

On Monday, the council approved setting up an ad hoc committee to make the recommendations. Under state law, the council can appoint three members. The rest will be chosen by residents in an upcoming election, and the council will discuss a date for that election at a meeting on Aug. 10.

The nominating committee will consist of Councilors Nicholas Mavodones, Tae Chong, Pious Ali and Mayor Kate Snyder. The council appointments to the commission must be made within one month of the election and Snyder said the committee will begin meeting Tuesday morning.

Under the rules, no more than one of the three council appointees can be a council member. Several said Monday they aren’t interested in serving on the panel and Snyder said the four she recommended for the ad hoc committee had all said they don’t plan to seek a seat on the commission.

Two weeks ago, Portland voters overwhelmingly approved creation of a charter commission. The panel has wide leeway on what changes might be made to the charter, which lays out the basic power structure of municipal government in Maine’s largest city.

The charter commission question landed on the city ballot in response to Fair Elections Portland’s petition to create a public financing system for candidates seeking municipal office, though there is no guarantee that a commission will recommend creating such a program.

But after several high-profile police killings of Black people led to nationwide and local protests, the questions morphed into an opportunity to consider more significant changes, including rooting out systemic racism and addressing the controversy over the elected mayor job, a full-time position that has no real power over daily operations of the city.

Any changes the commission recommends must be approved by city voters in a referendum. The last time the charter was altered was 12 years ago, when voters approved choosing a mayor by popular election. Prior to that, the mayor was selected by the council from its nine members.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.