ELECTION DAY: El Paso City Charter Amendments

On November 3rd, El Pasoans will head to the polls to vote on eight proposed City Charter amendments. The City of El Paso has released information on how those amendments were chosen and what the proposed changes are.

As always, all of this information is available on the City’s webpage, the City’s Facebook page, the City’s Twitter page, the City’s YouTube page  and on City 15 (cable channel 15.2 and U-verse channel 99)


Proposition One – Definition of City Council

 Amend definition of “City Council” to clarify that the Mayor is a non-voting member of City Council, and to specify that the Mayor should not be counted as a member of Council for matters requiring a super-majority (three-fourths) vote of all members of the governing body.

What does this mean?

 The Charter currently includes the Mayor in the definition of City Council even though he is not a voting member of the governing body. When a super majority of council is necessary to act, that requires one more extra vote, one more than necessary. If this proposition is approved, a 3/4ths super majority will be 6 votes, instead of 7.

Proposition Two – Other Employment by Council Member

 Repeal City prohibitions regarding other public employment by City Council members and City employment by former City Council members, thereby deferring and conforming to state law. The City prohibitions are more prohibitive than state law requires.

What does this mean?

 The Charter is more restrictive than State law with regard to types of jobs council members are permitted to hold while in office. If the amendment is approved, the City of El Paso will be consistent with State Law.

Proposition Three – City Council Meetings

 Require Council to hold regular meetings no less than once every other week, instead of once every week.

What does this mean?

 Council currently meets weekly. If approved, this change will allow the Council and City staff to perform more effectively and efficiently. It will provide City Council more time to address constituent concerns, and allow City staff more time to focus on priority projects and deliver results for the community rather than being tied up in numerous meetings every week preparing for weekly Council meetings.

Proposition Four – City Council Processes

 Delete requirement that voting by Council shall be done by roll call, so as to allow Council to use electronic voting or other approved voting process.

 Clarify that actions that impose taxes, or grant franchises or leases, require a majority vote of the entire Council.

What does this mean?

 This change will clean up outdated language that calls for a verbal roll call for voting during Council meetings. The City Council currently uses an electronic program for voting. If approved, this amendment will align current technology with the voting process.

Proposition Five – Appointment of City Attorney

 City Attorney appointed by entire City Council solely on the basis of legal experience and qualifications.

 City Attorney may be removed by resolution approved by a majority vote of City Council.

 Mayor shall not have any veto power over City Council for actions which remove the City Attorney.

What does this mean?

 Currently the City Attorney is appointed by the Mayor with the approval of Council. If this proposition is approved, the City Attorney will be appointed and discharged by the entire City Council. The Mayor will not be able to veto an action to terminate the City Attorney.

Proposition Six – Actions Requiring Ordinances

 Allow the Council the option of utilizing a resolution for acts that do not require the use of an ordinance, including the conveyance, lease or grant of a franchise of City property, the adoption of an administrative code, and the establishment, abolishment or alteration of any City departments.

What does this mean?

 The Charter requires conveyances of real estate, leases, grants of franchises, adoption of administrative codes, and abolishment and creation of City departments be done by ordinance. If this proposition is approved those actions will be permitted by resolution in lieu of an ordinance thereby eliminating the need for two readings and newspaper publications.

Proposition Seven – Fiscal and Budget Year

 Allow the City to change, by ordinance, the beginning date of the fiscal and budget year to October 1 and to allow for the necessary actions to be taken to effectuate the change. Most governmental entities begin their fiscal year on October 1.

What does this mean?

 If approved, this change will allow the City of El Paso to operate on the same fiscal year as most other governmental entities. It will allow City staff additional time to prepare a budget after tax rolls are certified in July, and to give City Council the most up-to-date and accurate information for deciding the next year’s budget.

Proposition Eight – Budget Procedures

 Require only that which is required by State law as relates to budget adoption procedures.

What does this mean?

 If this proposition is approved, the City of El Paso will be consistent with State Law as it relates to budget adoption procedures.

The City Council created an Ad Hoc Charter Advisory Committee in May. The committee hosted six meetings at various locations throughout the city. City Council directed the committee to review the following:

 Meetings  Ordinances  Fiscal Year and Budget Procedures  Mayor’s Powers

Ad Hoc Charter Advisory Committee Members were: Edward Beck, Joanne Gwinn Burt, Yolanda Giner, James Montoya, Enrique Moreno, Betty Spencer, David Thackston, Joe Wardy and Joyce Wilson

Author: City of El Paso