Nobody said it would be easy. After all, reconstructing a city government can be a daunting task.

The grueling work ahead was made clear to the newly elected Sharon Home Rule Charter Study Commission at their first meeting recently with state advisers. The advisers will provide input and chart a course for the seven-member group as they consider how to make the city’s government more efficient.

Michael Foreman, a local government specialist, stressed that the members need to be “visionaries” as they look at all aspects of the third-class city. Vision of a strong future is something the city has been lacking for many decades. But status quo can no longer be acceptable when your town borders on reaching Act 47 (distressed community) distinction.

We commend the commission members — Chairman William G. McConnell Jr., Frank Connelly, Rosann Rookey, David G. U’Halie, Brian Kepple, David George and Noel Moss — for accepting the job.

And we encourage them to keep an open mind about all aspects of rebuilding the city, from how administrative duties will be changed to the best possible forms of taxation. There will be trying times.

They will be pulled politically by friends and relatives. But this must be a non-political issue. The needs of the city must come before the needs of the individuals currently holding office.

Listening to the public is an important part of the process. In the end, after the commission lays out the best possible plan for the future, the voters will make the final decision on whether to accept the home rule charter or reject it.

That’s why sessions should be open to the public so they can hear the discussion of the committee on most issues. The public must be assured that everything is above board in making difficult decisions.

It was recommended that the commission first look at the current strong-mayor form of government and whether it is really the best for the city’s needs today. This is pretty much a no-brainer for change because strong-mayor is an archaic form of government. Most progressive municipalities have changed to a manager style of operation. Having a professional manager helps remove much of the political maneuvering than can hurt a community at times.

Then the commission can decide whether to maintain a “weak mayor,” who is actually part-time and a voting member of council, or go to a no-mayor government as in Hermitage.

This is a perfect time for this study, since a financial assessment of the city is under way. The first presentation of the analysis will be made available to the public in the near future, according to city officials. The home rule study commission should pay close attention to the final results because it will help determine which direction they should go for tax reform.

The commission, which will meet the second and fourth Wednesday of each month, has a lot to absorb and consider within the next year. And while the task ahead is difficult, so are the economic times facing the City of Sharon.

A well-designed home rule charter could help drive the city toward a brighter future, a future where the citizens of Sharon have more say on how the government is run.

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