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Cuero residents to vote on changes in home rule charter

By Sonny Long
May 12, 2011 at 12:12 a.m.


Charter Review CommitteeThe Cuero city council is required to appoint a charter review committee each even numbered year.

The committee makes recommended changes to the city council who then decides whether to call for a charter amendment election.

Committee members appointed in August 2010 were: Willie Carter, Gerard Gonzales, Walter McClung, Linda Henderson, Charles Papacek, Bill Hickey and W.L. "Buzz" Edge.

In addition to two contested at-large city council seats, Cuero voters will consider 16 amendments to the city's home rule charter when they go to the polls Saturday.

Cuero Mayor Sara Meyer said the charter amendments are vital to the city.

"The city charter proposed amendments on this year's ballot are important for the operation of the city's government," said Meyer. "If approved by the voters, the charter will be updated and refined particularly in the budget process and the employee evaluation process."

Four of the proposed changes (Propositions 3, 4, 5 and 6) deal with clarifying the duties of the city manager, the city's chief executive officer, including the hiring and evaluation of department heads.

Proposition 7 concerns the city secretary's position, giving the city manager the authority to hire and fire for that position and assistant city secretaries as needed.

The city manager would also conduct the annual evaluations for those positions.

Charter review committee member W.L. "Buzz" Edge said that in years past, the charter had been interpreted in such a way as only the city council could terminate a city secretary.

"You've got to be able to put your trust in the city manager," said Edge, a former Cuero mayor. "The city manager then answers to the council."

Propositions 8 and 9 deal with the makeup of the municipal planning commission and its ability to have regular meetings and make recommendations to the city council.

Proposition 10 adds a section to the charter that requires members of the city's planning and zoning commission to declare any conflict of interest prior to discussion of an item and not taking part in any discussion or vote on that topic.

Propositions 11, 12 and 13 clean up conflicting time frames with the State of Texas related to the budget process. Some wording is also clarified.

Proposition 14 brings the city's bidding guidelines for projects or purchases in line with those of the state.

Proposition 15 states that ordinances related to public utility franchises must be read at three separate meetings.

The final proposition, 16, is a wording change concerning restoration of streets to pre-construction conditions.

Proposition 1 puts in writing that voting districts will be redrawn when Census and other data shows an imbalance in the ethnic makeup of a district.

Proposition 2 alters slightly the reading of ordinances. For the first reading, the entire ordinance must be read. For two additional subsequent readings, the caption only may be read at two additional meetings, regularly scheduled or special called sessions.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Cuero Fire Station, 219 E. Main St.

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