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Peoria Residents To Weigh Updating Charter In Primary

(Photo courtesy of Peoria via Twitter)

Peoria residents voting in Tuesday’s primary election will decide whether to give the city’s charter a facelift.

It’s been almost 25 years since Peoria residents last reviewed the document. The mayor and council had a committee explore possible changes that were unveiled in April.

One significant revision looks at how to replace the mayor if they leave office before an election.

The committee wants to increase transparency and empower voters, said Tammy Shreeve, Peoria’s strategic management officer.

“What is being proposed is that if the mayor were to leave office in the first two years, the same as a council member, then that position would have a special election,” Shreeve said. “People would have to run and then residents could vote on it.”

Under the city’s current charter, the vice mayor automatically steps in for the mayor. If the measure passes, Shreeve said that will happen only if the mayor leaves office in the final two years of their term.

Another potential revision deals with the pronoun used to describe the city's top positions.

“If you look at our city charter, everyone is referred to as a 'he',” Shreeve said. “The mayor is a he. Everybody’s a he. Well, that’s changed over time and we actually have a wonderful female mayor right now.”

Voters elected Cathy Carlat mayor of Peoria in 2014. She is the first woman to hold the office.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.