LEWISTON — If Mayor Robert Macdonald has his way, future Lewiston mayors won't have any more powers than he does now.
Macdonald Tuesday came out against proposed changes to the City Charter that would allow the mayor to vote in several situations.
Macdonald also spoke against easing the city's two-term limit, giving them an additional two year term to run for office.
"I really believe the mayor needs to be the neutral party here. The mayor runs the meeting; he shouldn't have a dog in the fight. That way, it's fair. And number two, if you can't do it in four years, you're not going to be able to do it in six."
But city councilors, reviewing an entire list of potential changes to the City Charter at a Tuesday night workshop, said they had no problem with letting the mayor vote in a few more situations.
Councilors are recommending a list of changes at their meeting July 17 and schedule an Aug. 14 public hearing. Voters would get their say on the proposed changes at the polls in November.
"If you are not ready to come forward with all of these changes, come forward with the changes you are comfortable with," City Administrator Ed Barrett said.
Most of the changes represent tweaks and steps to modernize the document, eliminating some confusing language and some gender-specific language.
The current Charter was adopted in 1980. Councilors created a committee in August 2011 to review the charter with an eye toward changes. That committee presented a report to the previous council in November. This is the current council's first review of the committee report.
Barrett said the proposed changes would let the mayor vote when a council seat is vacant, when a councilor is absent from a meeting or when a councilor has been recused from voting due to a conflict of interest.
"There are situations where it is useful to have seven votes," Barrett said. "This would guarantee that most of the time, you would have seven votes."
Another option would allow the mayor to vote on any item that requires a five-vote super majority — issues like debt approval and bond sales, for example. That would let the mayor cast the deciding favorable vote when a vote fails, despite getting four yes votes.
Councilors objected to the super majority option, but were fine with other voting changes.
"The super majority should stay the council's decision, in my opinion," Councilor Mark Cayer said.
Other potential charter changes are:
* Eliminating the prohibition of appointed officers or employees to be candidates for city offices.
* Expanding term limits for the Planning Board and Board of Appeals to two consecutive five year terms.
* Requiring official write-in candidates to register with the city clerk at least 30 days before an election.
* Requiring write-in candidates to receive at least as many votes as they'd need for nomination to win an election.
* Allowing the City Council to appoint a city councilor if one is not elected at a regular election.
* Allowing the City Council to appoint School Committee members in case of vacancies.
* Adding a provision that would make elected or appointed officials forfeit their seat if they missed three consecutive meetings. That would apply to the mayor, city councilors, School Committee members, Planning Board members and members of the Board of Appeals.