Ballinger’s proposition C, which deals with the city manager overseeing the police and fire department, is on the ballot in November has been one of the two propositions that have drawn the most questions. Councilwoman Kristi Goetz was chairwoman of the Proposition Committee and shares some insight into the reasoning behind that proposition:
“The council felt it was imperative to update our City Charter, which is like our City Constitution, since it had not been updated since 1963. One of the items that our city attorney suggested was proposition C. It primarily deals with the Police Department. Currently, city council manages the police department. There have not been any issues with this, but the attorney pointed out that most Charter Cities do not operate this way. The police chief in most Charter Cities reports to the city manager, simplifying things. The way it operates in Ballinger is that anytime the council needs to address anything with the PD, we schedule an executive session 72 hours in advance, post it publicly, then we are able to discuss PD business with the chief in executive session. It is difficult to move quickly or efficiently this way, which is why most other Charter Cities do not do it that way. If passed, the police chief would report to the city manager. The city manager would continue to report to the Council. This proposition does not give a city manager the power to hire or fire any officers, only a chief may terminate officers. If the chief decides to hire an officer, the city manager and police chief must agree on the candidate. Should a city manager ever need to terminate a police chief (being the head of a department), council would have to approve such action, as well as the hiring of the new police chief. We encourage voters to turn out and choose how they’d prefer our PD and city be managed.”
The other proposition that has drawn of lot of interest is Proposition #E that increases the term of council members and the mayor from 2-years to 4-years. Proponents of the proposition say that it will save the city money and councilmembers time and money that they spend to campaign every 2 years.
Those who are against the proposition feel that it will be harder to get anything accomplished if there is a problem with a councilmember, who would be in that position for 4-years rather than 2-years.
A Facebook poll on the newspaper Facebook page earlier this year showed that 75% of those who participated in the poll opposed increasing the terms of the council members.
If the proposition is approved, it will not go into effect until the next elections in November 2020.
Explanation of Proposition No. E:
The current City Charter provides for two (2) year terms for the City Council and Mayor. This proposition extends the terms to four (4) years for each member of the City Council, including the Mayor. This proposition will result in cost savings to the City, in the form of fewer elections, and will allow members of the City Council to become more familiar with the City and its operations before having to undergo the time and expense of running for re-election. This proposition will not affect the current members of the City Council. It will go into effect during the elections that will be conducted in November 2020.