Changes to charter set to become reality

Published 2:24 pm Saturday, June 5, 2010

A host of proposed structural changes to Austin’s charter — including the removal of gender-specific phrasing, archaic definitions and areas that do not comply with state law — are set to become reality on Monday.

That’s because City Council will be holding a public hearing to discuss the governing document, with a vote to come immediately afterward. Unanimous approval is needed to enact the changes.

However, some proposed substantive changes seem headed to November’s election. Council members Marian Clennon and John Martin previously voted against changing the charter, but the two have recently agreed to pass changes — provided certain issues go to a public vote.

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The issues in question are allowing the mayor to vote if council deadlocks — currently, the mayor can never vote — and bumping the term lengths for mayor and council member at-large from two years to four, which would bring them in line with all other council members.

For those issues to become ballot questions, council will have to approve them by their first meeting in July. Action on the issues is not expected Monday.