Proposed Charter Changes

In Ap3ril 2022, the residents of Webster Groves voted to require the City Council to constitute the Charter Review Advisory Board and propose amendments, if any, to the City Council. The Charter Review Advisory Board began its work in October, 2022.

The Charter Review Advisory Board issued its report to the City Council with recommendations on October 17, 2023.  

Click here to read the Report to the City Council

The report of the Board, and the recommendations therein, will be reviewed by the City Council, who will determine what proposed changes to the Charter would be submitted to the voters and at what election. You can view the research and additional materials from the Charter Review Advisory Board by visiting this link. 

April 2, 2024 Election

For the Charter amendments on the April 2024 ballot, residents will vote yes or no on 10 amendments. To view a list of those proposed amendments, click here or read below:

Amendment No. 1    

Shall the Preamble of the Charter of the City of Webster Groves be amended to expand and update the core values of the Charter? 

RATIONALE: The current charter preamble is original to the charter as developed in 1954. In recent years, especially in the studies on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, a lack of statement of the vision and mission was noted for the city. The National Civic League’s Model City Charter (9th edition, 2021) recommends that a charter contain a declaration of intent for the city. This change would add, “By this action, we secure the benefits of Home Rule and affirm the values of representative democracy, professional management, effective leadership, community engagement, regional cooperation, diversity, and inclusiveness.” 

Amendment No. 2    

Shall Section 2.12 of the Charter of the City of Webster Groves be amended to allow publication of proposed bills by electronic posting and any other contemporary means of information sharing? 

RATIONALE: Currently the charter requires any legislation (ordinances and resolutions) to be posted at City Hall and the Webster Groves Library as well as having ten (10) copies of the legislation printed and available. This change would remove the posting of legislation requirement and eliminate the need for ten copies. The city provides immediate on-demand web access to all legislation pending before the Council and provides printed copies at the meetings. The proposed change does not change or exempt the city from any of the Open Meeting and Public Notice laws that require public notice of meetings and availability of materials. 

Amendment No. 3

Shall Section 5.6 of the Charter of the City of Webster Groves be amended to provide that an independent audit be completed not later than the last day of the sixth month after the close of the fiscal year? 

RATIONALE: The current charter requires the audit of a fiscal year’s records to be delivered to the City Council within 45 days of the close of the fiscal year. The City’s fiscal year closes on June 30 each year and the current deadline in the charter is August 14 each year. The City cannot comply with this standard, as final revenue amounts for the fiscal year are received from the State of Missouri and St. Louis County in late August.

Additionally, a complete audit requires an independent auditor and generally takes two months of time to compile and test records to complete the audit. The proposed change aligns the audit deadline to the deadline established in state law which the City currently complies to. 

Amendment No. 4     

Shall Section 5.18(2) of the Charter of the City of Webster Groves be amended to eliminate antiquated terms?    

RATIONALE: The charter currently lists the terms “insane asylums, orphan asylums, poorhouses, …workhouses” in the allowable infrastructure investments the City may make. This proposal strikes those terms and updates those terms to “mental health facilities” to reflect current usage and terminology. 

Amendment No. 5    

Shall Section 7.6 of Article 7 of the Charter of the City of Webster Groves be amended to identify those employees in unclassified service as those who are exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act? 

RATIONALE: The City operates under a Merit System for employment. Within that system there are classified employees who are subject to Personnel Board rules and oversight and unclassified employees who are at-will employees. The charter contains an outdated list of specific positions that are to be considered unclassified, some of which no longer exist. This list is also out of date with the Fair Labor Standards Act which provides a uniform federal standard on employees that are considered salaried (exempt) and those that are subject to overtime and other provisions of the law (non-exempt). This change would align the classified service with the non-exempt employees and the unclassified service with the exempt employees as determined by the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

Amendment No. 6

Shall Section 7.12 of the Charter of the City of Webster Groves be amended to prohibit discrimination and clarify allowed political activity? 

RATIONALE: The current charter contains explicit prohibitions on discrimination against any classified employee or potential hire. The listed protected classes are “race or political or religious opinions”. This change would add to the list of protected classes – “race, creed, national origin, gender identity, marital status, sexual orientation, age, income, physical appearance, disability, affiliations, or service". The change also clarifies that the current prohibition on political activity by employees in city council elections does not apply to political campaigns at any other level of government. 

Amendment No. 7

Shall Section 9.2 of Article 9 of the Charter of the City of Webster Groves be amended to eliminate the requirement that the City Judge be a resident and elector of the City of Webster Groves?  

RATIONALE: The charter requires that the appointed Municipal Court Judge reside in the City. The change is proposed to promote greater interest and a recruitment pool for the future recruitment of the position.

Amendment No. 8 

Shall Section 10.3 of Article 10 of the Charter of the City of Webster Groves be amended to eliminate the Board of Trustees of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement Fund since police and fire pensions now participate in the Missouri Local Government Employee’s Retirement System? 

RATIONALE: The charter currently creates a Board of Trustees for the Police and Firemen’s Retirement Fund. This fund was eliminated when the pension plan for the police and fire personnel was transferred to the Missouri Local Government Employee’s Retirement System (LAGERS). This change would eliminate the Board of Trustees requirement since the fund is closed. If enacted, this proposal would NOT change any pension benefit or retirement system eligibility for current or former employees of the city.  

Amendment No. 9 

Shall Section 13.4 of the Charter of the City of Webster Groves be amended so that the Charter’s requirement of ballot language for candidates is compliant and consistent with the Missouri Revised Statutes and the St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners? 

RATIONALE: The current charter requires ballot language for candidates to be printed in alphabetical order. This change would align the charter to the provision of Missouri State law and the St. Louis County Board of Election rules that supersede the current charter provision. 

Amendment No. 10     

Shall Section 14.9 of Article 14 of the Charter of the City of Webster Groves be amended to require ballot language for initiative, referendum, and recall to be consistent with the Missouri Revised Statutes? 

RATIONALE: Currently, the charter requires that any question on a ordinance submitted to the people by initiative or referendum be worded so that the voter may choose, “For the Ordinance” or “Against the Ordinance”. Missouri State law and the St. Louis County Board of Election rules supersede that current charter requirement and mandate the use of Yes or No for these types of questions. This change would conform the charter to the requirement in Missouri law and the rules of the St. Louis County Board of Elections. 

Note: The rationales above were written by City Staff. You can see the research conducted by the Charter Review Advisory Board by visiting this link.