The Chamber has been actively engaged in the City of San Antonio Charter Review Commission. Jeff Webster, Vice President of Business Development and Marketing at Unintech Consulting Engineers, Inc., was appointed by Mayor Ivy R. Taylor to serve as chair, and Chamber President and CEO Richard Perez was appointed to serve on the Charter Review Ethics Committee.
As a home rule city, the City of San Antonio has the authority to self-govern. Adopted in 1951, the city charter is the foundational governing document of the city and establishes a council-manager form of government. The City has the ability to take the charter before City Council for amendments every two years, and the charter has been amended nine times since being adopted. The most recent amendments were adopted in May 2015, and included four propositions:
- Voter approval required for street car or light rail
- Set mayor and council compensation rates
- Special election permitted to fill mayor and council vacancies with more than 120 days remaining in the term of office.
- Removed outdated and superseded language
The recently appointed Charter Review Commission, appointed by the Mayor, is charged with making a recommendation to City Council on August 17. The items currently under consideration are:
- Council Terms and Election Dates
- Extending terms from 2 years to 4 years
- Adjusting term limits to two 4-year terms
- Staggering election cycles for City Council
- Changing general election day from May to November
- Planning Commission
- Transitioning to appointment by district, rather than 9 at-large members
- Changing Ethics Review Board appointment process
- Housing Bond
- Modifying restrictions on using city bond funds on affordable housing
- Candidacy Residency
- Adjusting process for demonstrating residency when filing as a candidate for Mayor or City Council.
The Charter Review Commission is currently gathering public input from residents. The first public hearing took place May 24, where citizens offered additional amendments to be considered, including the change to a Mayor-Council form of government, sunset review of city committees, a separate attorney for City Council, and a change to candidate eligibility, just to name a few.
As a Chamber member, Webster has been active in educating our business community about the amendments under consideration as well as opportunities for residents to offer public comments. He addressed the Chamber’s Public Affairs Committee last month and will provide updates leading up to the August 17 City Council meeting. The next meeting is scheduled for 6pm today at the Central Library Auditorium.
Head to http://www.sanantonio.gov/City-Attorney/Charter-Review-Commission for more information and a calendar of upcoming meetings.