Government History

Norton was a Township from 1818 until March of 1961. The Norton Township Development Committee was formed in 1958. Some residents believed the Township form of government, with its three Trustees, needed a more structured form of government to effectively meet the needs of a fast growing community. The Committee held many public meetings and in time the issue of incorporation as a Village was placed on the ballot. The incorporation issue was defeated in its first try, but the second ballot attempt was successful. Norton was incorporated as a Village in 1961.

At the first Village election, residents had numerous candidates to choose from. In all, there were 8 candidates for the Office of Mayor and 62 candidates for the 6 Council seats. Norton's first Village Mayor was Richard DuFore and the first President of Village Council was Marcus Bertsch. Electors were also asked to select a Charter Commission to prepare a Charter for the new Village.

Voters approved a Charter form of government for the newly incorporated Village at the general election of November 6,, 1962. The 1962 approved Charter made many changes in the way the local government was run. Among those changes, the number of Council members was increased from 6 to 7. The Offices of the Village Clerk and Treasurer were combined.

The General Election of November 1968, brought Norton to a City status. The official results of that year's election confirmed Norton had 5,037 voters. This was just 37 votes over the required 5,000 registered voters needed! The former Norton Village officially assumed City status on January 11, 1969.

Norton has a strong Mayor form of government. The Mayor is the Chief Executive of the City. The seven members of Council are elected by 4 and three at-large. These members elect a President and Vice-President at the annual organizational meeting in January. Council has an important role as the legislative body of the City. Local legislation (resolutions and ordinances) are voted on by Council. The Mayor may approve the legislation or disapprove with a veto.

Today the City of Norton Administrative Offices are comprised of the following: The Mayor, Administrative Officer, Finance Director, Director of Community Development and Planning, Municipal Engineer, Superintendent of Building and Zoning, Clerk of the Mayor's Court, and the Administrative and Finance Departmental Staff.

Day to day operations of the City are directed by the Administrative Officer, who is responsible to the Mayor. The Administrative Officer serves as the Director of Public Safety, Director of Public Service, and Personnel Director. The Finance Director and Director of Community Development and Planning are also responsible to the Mayor. Each of these offices are Charter-authorized Mayoral appointments with Council confirmation.

Much of the above article is reprinted from the 1968 Norton Sesquicentennial Booklet.
Reprinted With Updated Changes by Claude Collins, 2003.