Amendments address administration of city
Editor's note: This is the second in a series of four articles explaining the propositions that will be on the Port Aransas city charter amendment election on May 12. While the ballot will contain the language of the amendment, the series seeks to put the proposals in the context of the entire section of the charter to which they apply.
Proposed amendments that will appear on the ballot have been recommended by the charter review commission and approved by the city council. Originally, the commission recommended 28 amendments; the council dropped one that would have required only two public readings to make an ordinance instead of the current three readings.
The four amendments discussed in Part I last week dealt with city council. Amendments discussed in Part II deal with city administration.
5. City manager compensation. As the city charter is now written, the city council decides how much the city manager will be paid, but it doesn't include his performance as city manager as one of the criteria on which he's judged. This amendment adds performance to the council 's criteria.
6. City manager duties. The city manager is now required to submit an annual report to the council within 60 days of the end of the city's fiscal year. The amendment would change that to 90 days after the fiscal year ends.
7. City secretary duties. Besides keeping the minutes of all the official meetings and hearings, the city secretary must make sure those meetings are taped or recorded. The charter now requires tapes or recordings to be kept for two years. The amendment removes the arbitrary two-year requirement and makes the period conform to state law instead.
8. Municipal court. Instead of the clerk of the municipal court being appointed by the city council, she would be appointed by the city manager under this amendment. Proponents say this brings the court clerk's position more in line with the council-manager form of government. The council would continue to decide how much the clerk should be paid.
9. City engineer. Charter review commissioners and council members agree that this proposal may be somewhat confusing. It would require that "the city" instead of the city council appoint a city engineer, but gives the city manager the authority to fire him and to determine how much he would be paid. If additional engineers are thought to be needed, it would be the city engineer who selects them and the city manager who approves them. However, because there is now a city engineer, the amendment says the current city engineer will serve until he resigns or the council removes him.
10. City assessor-collector. The charter now requires the city assessor collector to be appointed for a term of between one and two years. However, the charter review commission pointed out that Nueces County does assessing and tax collecting for the city, and said the term of office is no longer needed in the city charter.
11. Personnel system. The charter requires the council to pass an ordinance adopting personnel policies for the city, and allows the council to decide residency requirements for city employees. Under the proposed change, the personnel policies would be adopted by council resolution instead of by ordinance, and instead of deciding which employees must live in the city, the council could set standards within which employees must respond in case of emergency. The amendment does not remove the requirement that the city manager live in Port Aransas.