"We are still very much at the front end of things in this process," said Warren law director Enzo Cantalamessa Wednesday, after city council unanimously moved the citizens-led effort to change the form of government a step forward.

"City council has to pass the official action of telling the Board of Elections to yes, now place this on the ballot, which is what they did tonight," Cantalamessa said.

That means in May, residents will decide whether to establish a commission to write the city's charter.
If they do, they'd then decide in November whether to adopt that charter once it's written.

But despite that step forward, Tina Milner, part of the push for a charter government, describes the victory as a hollow one.

"This should not have taken as long as it did," she said. "I am thrilled that it's passed, but it just speaks volumes to the citizens that what they want is being ignored.

But some council members say the change to a charter government would concentrate power and take more of it away from the people.

"There are 10 councilpeople for a city of 40,000 people, so every 4,000 citizens has a representative on city government," explained Third Ward councilman Greg Greathouse. "They think the ideal council size is five,, so it goes from 4,000 people have access to one to 8,000 people have access to one."

With council's vote Wednesday, it'll be a matter of months until those 39,201 people have their say.