Victoria council to consider placing charter amendments on 2012 ballot

Sonny Long

Dec. 18, 2011 at 6:18 a.m.

Proposed changes to Victoria's charter could be on the ballot in May, if the city council approves a recommendation that will be made by the committee appointed to study the document.

Councilman Tom Halepaska, who chairs the committee, said the proposed amendments to the charter are mostly cosmetic.

"Most of them are just housekeeping and some are things that need to be clarified for legal reasons," Halepaska said. "Words like 'shall' as opposed to 'may.' One of them is the use of the word city 'officer.' Does that mean police officer or something else?"

The councilman said none of the proposed amendments could be construed as even slightly controversial.

"The only one of them that even comes close is to change the appointment of the city secretary from the city council to the city manager," he said.

Currently the council appoints the city manager, city attorney, city secretary, municipal judge and municipal court clerk.

Halepaska said none of the amendments is of an emergency nature, so there was no need to call a special election and having it on the uniform election date in 2012 would also save the city money.

A special election would have cost at least $20,000.

In 2009, Victoria voters defeated 10 charter amendments that were on the ballot as a result of a citizens' petition presented to the city council.

Those defeated changes in 2009 included term limits and making the city attorney an elected position.

In July 2009, Victoria Mayor Will Armstrong appointed Halepaska, councilwoman Denise Rangel and councilman Paul Polasek to the charter review committee. The committee then added former council members Philip Guittard, Bill Russell and former mayor Gary Middleton to the group.

The charter amendment recommendations will be discussed Tuesday during a council work session. A vote to place the amendments on the May 2012 ballot could be taken at that time.



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