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City Charter

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An election will be held on November 6, 2018, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. for the purpose of allowing voters to determine whether to amend the City Charter of the City of Stephenville, Texas. Persons interested in voting on this issue may contact the City Secretary of the City of Stephenville for information about polling places and other information pertaining to the election. The specific amendments being proposed are as follows:

Proposition 1 – Reducing the city council from eight (8) to six (6)
Financial Impact: None
Charter language if approved:

Article III, Section 1 Governing Body
All governing and lawmaking powers of the City of Stephenville shall be vested in the council which shall consist of six (6) councilmen and a mayor, and said body shall be known as the “city council.”

Article III, Section 5 Councilmembers, Terms of Office
There shall be six (6) members of the city council elected at large from the City of Stephenville

Article III, Section 7 Mayor, Councilmembers – Qualifications
Each of the six (6) councilmembers and the mayor shall be…

Article III, Section 9 Quorum
A quorum at any council meeting will be established by the presence of at least four (4) members.

Article VIII, Section 8
…be authorized by the affirmative vote of at least four (5) members of the entire council…

Proposition 2 – Increasing the term of office from two (2) years to three (3) years
Financial Impact: None
Charter language if approved:

Article III, Section 2 Mayor-Term
The mayor shall be elected from the city at large for a term of three (3) years…

Article III, Section 5 Councilmembers, Terms of Office
Councilmembers shall be elected for a term of three (3) years, three (3) councilmembers being elected every third year.

Proposition 3 – Addition of Term Limits
Fiscal Impact: None
Charter language if approved:

Article III, Section 10 Term Limits
The mayor and council members will not be allowed to seek re-election to the office of Mayor or Council mber after they have been elected to two consecutive terms in that particular office until they have taken a one-year hiatus.

Proposition 4 – Clarify the filling of a vacancy in the office of councilmember
Fiscal Impact: None
Charter language if approved:

Article III, Section 12 Vacancy
An immediate vacancy shall be declared should any councilmember or the mayor move from the city or be convicted of a crime of a grade above a misdemeanor. Vacancies in the office of council member arising from any cause shall be filled for the remainder of the unexpired term at an election to be held on the first uniform election date not earlier than thirty (30) days after the vacancy occurs. A special election shall be called in the manner provided for city general elections to elect successors to fill such unexpired terms.

Proposition 5 – Removing the Board of Equalization
Fiscal Impact: None
Charter language if approved:

Sections 3, 4, 5, and 6 would be removed in their entirety.

Proposition 6 – Administrative changes in order to adhere to the laws of the State of Texas
Fiscal Impact: None
Charter language if approved:

Article III, Section 7 Mayor, Councilmembers – Qualifications
Each of the councilmembers and mayor shall be a citizen of the Unites States of America, have been a resident of the State of Texas for a period of at least one (1) year, have been a resident of the City of Stephenville for a period of at least six (6) months, and be a qualified voter of the State of Texas.

Article IV, Section 1 Municipal Elections
The regular election for members of the city council shall be held on such date as may be set by the laws of the State of Texas.

Article IV, Section 6 Canvassing Elections
Returns of elections, general and special, shall be made by the election officers to the city council in a called or regular council meeting as specified by the laws of the State of Texas, when the city council shall canvass the returns and declare the results of the election.

Article VI, Section 3 Public Sale
All bonds issued under this charter shall be sold as provided by the laws of the State of Texas.

Article XII, Section 5 Oath of Office
Every officer of the city shall, before entering upon the duties of his office, take and subscribe the oath of office as prescribed by the Secretary of State of the State of Texas.

Proposition 7 – Administrative changes in order to remove invalid or outdated language
Fiscal Impact: None
Charter language if approved:

Article III, Section 5 Councilmembers, Terms of Office
Remove references to the 1964 election.

Article III, Section 17(16) Power of the City Council
Remove reference to voting wards.

Article VII, Section 2(6) Powers and Duties
Remove the section in its entirety: Supervise and be responsible for the assessment of all property within the corporate limits of the city for taxation, make all special assessments for the city government, prepare tax maps, and give such notice of taxes and special assessments as may be required by law

Proposition 8 – Removal of “Contingent Appropriation” provision
Fiscal Impact: None
Charter language if approved:

Article VIII, Section 7  Contingent Appropriation
Remove the section in its entirety: Provision shall be made in the annual budget and in the appropriation ordinance for a contingent appropriation in an amount not to exceed three (3) percent of the total general fund expenditure, to be used in case of unforeseen items of expenditures. Such contingent appropriation shall be under the control of the finance department and distributed by it, after approval by the city council. Expenditures from this appropriation shall be made only in case of established emergencies and a detailed account of such expenditures shall be recorded and reported. The proceeds of the contingent appropriation shall be disbursed only by transfer to other departmental appropriations, the spending of which shall be charged to the departments or activities for which the appropriations are made.

Proposition 9 – Correction of the city’s form of government
Fiscal Impact: None
Charter language if approved:

Article II, Section 1 Form of Government
The municipal government provided by this charter shall be known as the “council-manager government.”

Article VII, Section 2 Powers and Duties
The director of finance shall, under the direct supervision of the City Manager, have charge of the administration of the financial affairs of the city…

Article VIII, Section 2 Preparation, Submission; Content of Budget
A budget shall be submitted to the council by the City Manager…

Article VII, Section 11 Disbursement of Funds
All checks, vouchers, or warrants for the withdrawal of money from the city depository shall be signed by the director of finance, or his deputy, and countersigned by a person designated by the council.

Article XI City Manager
Section 1. CITY MANAGER – QUALIFICATIONS, APPOINTMENT AND REMOVAL; DUTIES; COMPENSATION; RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT

The City Manager shall be the chief administrative and executive officer of the City. The City Manager is appointed by a 2/3 majority vote of the City Council for an indefinite period of time. The City Manager serves at the will of the City Council. The City Manager shall be appointed solely on the basis of the City Manager’s administrative ability, experience, and training. The City Manager shall administer the business of the City, and the City Council shall ensure that such administration is efficient. The City Council may by ordinance delegate to the City Manager any additional powers or duties it considers proper for the efficient administration of City affairs. The City Manager shall execute a bond conditioned that he/she will faithfully perform the duties of City Manager. The amount of such bond shall be as prescribed by ordinance adopted by the City Council. The City Manager need not be a resident of the City at the time of appointment, but shall become a resident of Stephenville within ninety (90) days of acceptance of an offer of employment. Failure to become a resident of the City within the prescribed time will result in a forfeiture of the position and the position shall be declared vacant by the Mayor at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the City Council. The City Council shall be authorized to enter into a Contract of Employment with the City Manager and to prescribe such compensation therein as it may fix. The action of the City Council in suspending or removing the City Manager shall be by at least a 2/3 majority of the full council and shall be final, it being the intention of this Charter to vest all authority and responsibility for such suspension or removal in the City Council.

Section 2. CITY MANAGER – DIRECTION AND SUPERVISION OF EMPLOYEES, NONINTERFERENCE BY COUNCIL; APPOINTMENTS AND REMOVAL OF DEPARTMENT HEADS

Except for the purpose of inquiries and investigations as provided by this Charter or otherwise by law, the City Council or its Members shall deal with City officers and employees who are subject to the direction and supervision of the City Manager solely through the City Manager, and no Member of the City Council shall give orders to any subordinate of the City Manager, either publicly or privately. Neither the City Council nor any of its Members shall direct or request the appointment of any person to, or his or her removal from, office by the City Manager or by any of the City Manager’s subordinates. Except as otherwise provided for in this Charter, the City Manager shall be responsible for, and have the power to appoint, suspend, and/or remove all or any one of the directors of the departments of the City with the concurrence of the City Council.

Section 3. CITY MANAGER – SPECIFIC POWERS AND DUTIES

The City Manager shall be responsible to the City Council for the proper administration of the affairs of the City and shall have the power and duty to:

1) Exercise control over all departments and subdivisions thereof created by this Charter or by ordinance.

2) Prepare and recommend items for inclusion in the official agenda of all City Council meetings and meetings of the Boards and Commissions as established by this Charter or ordinance.

3) Prepare and submit to the City Council the annual budget and capital program, and administer the budget as adopted by the City Council.

4) Be responsible for the proper administration of all City affairs placed in his or her hands.

5) See that all terms and conditions imposed in favor of the City or its inhabitants in any public utility franchise are faithfully kept and performed.

6) See that all laws and ordinances are enforced.

7) Keep the City Council at all times fully advised as to the financial condition and needs of the City, and prepare and submit to the City Council an annual report on the finances and administrative activities of the City, including the report of the annual audit required by state law.

8) Appoint, suspend, and/or remove employees not otherwise provided for in this Charter. Appointments made by the City Manager shall be on the basis of executive and administrative experience and ability, and of training fitness and efficiency of such appointees in the work which they are to administer.

9) Attend all City Council meetings and take part in the discussion of any City business.

10) Recommend to the City Council for adoption such measures as the City Manager may deem necessary or expedient; to execute deeds, deeds of trust, easements, releases, contracts, and all other legal instruments on behalf of the City when authorized by ordinance or resolution of the City Council.

11) Perform such other duties as are specified in this Charter, or as may be required by the City Council by ordinance or resolution, not inconsistent with this Charter.

Proposition 10 – Amend the date by which the budget must be submitted to the City Council
Financial Impact: None
Charter language if approved:

Article VIII, Section 2 The Budget
A budget shall be submitted to the council … at least forty-five (45) days prior to the beginning of each budget year.

Proposition 11 – Removing the finance director’s power to approve contracts
Financial Impact: None
Charter language if approved:

Article VII, Section 4(2) Accounting Supervision and Control
The director of finance shall have the power and shall be required to:

(2) Examine and consult on all contracts, orders, and other documents by which the city government incurs financial obligations…

Proposition 12 – Allowing the carryover of capital appropriations in the budget
Financial Impact: None
Charter language if approved:
Article VII, Section 5 Lapse of Appropriations
All appropriations, other than those designated for capital expenditures, shall lapse at the end of the budget year to the extent that they shall not have been expended or lawfully encumbered

Proposition 13 – Amend the process for the sale of city property to more closely follow state law
Financial Impact: None
Charter Language if approved:

Article VII, Section 10 Sale of City Property
Personal property of the City of Stephenville shall be offered for sale in open competition under such rules and regulation as the city council may prescribe.

Real property of the City of Stephenville shall be sold in accordance with the Texas Local Government Code.

The city council shall have the power to reject any and all bids and advertise again.

Proposition 14 – Providing for recall of elected officials
Financial Impact: None
Charter language if approved:
Article XII, Section 11 Recall of an Elected Official
SECTION 11 RECALL OF AN ELECTED OFFICIAL

SCOPE OF RECALL
Any elected City official shall be subject to recall and removal from office by the qualified voters of the City of Stephenville on grounds of incompetency, misconduct, or malfeasance in office.

PETITIONS FOR RECALL
Before the question of recall of such officer shall be submitted to the qualified voters of the City of Stephenville, a petition demanding such questions to be submitted shall first be filed with the City Secretary. If recall is sought for the Mayor or a Council Member the petition must be signed by qualified voters of the City equal to ten (10%) percent of the qualified voters in the City, or sixty five (65%) percent of the votes cast at the last general election for such office, whichever is greater. Each signer of such recall petition shall personally sign his or her name thereto in ink or indelible pencil, and shall write after signer’s name his or her place of residence, giving the name of the street and number, or place of residence, and shall also write thereon the day, the month, and the year his or her signature was affixed.

FORM OF RECALL PETITION
The recall petition mentioned above must be addressed to the Council of the City of Stephenville, must be distinctly and specifically pointed to the grounds upon which such petition for removal is predicated, and, if there is more than one ground, said petition shall specifically state each ground with such certainty as to give the officer sought to be removed notice of the matters and things with which the officer is charged. The signature shall be verified by oath in the following form:

“State of Texas”

County of ________________

I, _____________________ , being first duly sworn, on oath depose and say that I am one of the signers of the above petition, and that the statements made therein are true, and that each signature appearing thereon was made in my presence on the day and date it purports to have been made, and I solemnly swear that the same is the genuine signature of the person it purports to be.

Signature

Sworn and subscribed before me this ____ day of_________, 2_____.

Signed _____________________

Notary Public in and for the State of Texas

VARIOUS PAPERS CONSTITUTING PETITION

The petition may consist of one or more copies, or subscription lists, circulated separately, and the signatures thereto may be upon the paper or papers containing the form of petition, or upon other paper attached thereto. Verifications provided for in the preceding section of this Chapter may be made by one or more petitioners, and the several parts of copies of the petition may be filed separately and by different persons, but no signatures to such petition shall remain effective to be counted which were placed thereon more than forty-five (45) days prior to the filing of such petition or petitions with the City Secretary. All papers comprising a recall petition shall be filed with the City Secretary who shall immediately notify, in writing, the officer sought to be removed, by mailing such notice to the officer’s Stephenville address, by both regular mail and certified mail.

PRESENTATION OF PETITION TO THE COUNCIL

Within seven (7) days after the date of the filing of the papers constituting the recall petition, the City Secretary shall present such petition to the Council of the City of Stephenville.

PUBLIC HEARING TO BE HELD

The officer whose removal is sought may, within seven (7) days after such recall petition has been presented to the Council, request that a public hearing be held to permit the officer to present the facts pertinent to the charges specified in the recall petition. In this event, the City Council shall order such public hearing to be held, not less than five (5) days nor more than fifteen (15) days after receiving such request for a public hearing.

CALLING OF RECALL ELECTION

If the officer whose removal is sought does not resign, then the City Council shall order an election and set the date for holding such a recall election. The date selected for the recall election shall be in accordance with the Texas Election Code. If after the recall election is established, the officer vacates his or her position, the election shall be cancelled. Any election order so issued shall comply fully with the Texas Election Code.

BALLOTS IN RECALL ELECTION

Ballots used at recall elections shall conform to the following requirements:

(A) With respect to each person whose removal is sought, the question shall be submitted:

“Shall _________________ be removed from the office of _______________ by recall?”

(B) Immediately below each such question there shall be printed the following

words, one above the other, in the order indicated:

“Yes”

“No”

RESULT OF RECALL ELECTION

If a majority of the votes cast at a recall election shall be “No,” that is against the recall of the person named on the ballot, the officer shall continue in office for the remainder of the officer’s unexpired term, subject to recall as before. If a majority of the votes cast at such election be “Yes,” that is for the recall of the person named on the ballot, the officer shall, regardless of any technical defects in the recall petition, be deemed removed from office and the vacancy be filled by the City Council as provided in this Charter.

RECALL, RESTRICTIONS THEREON

No recall petition shall be filed against any officer of the City of Stephenville within three (3) months after the officer’s election, no more than twice within an officer’s term, and not within three (3) months after an election for such officer’s recall.

FAILURE OF THE COUNCIL TO CALL AN ELECTION-RECALL

If all the requirements of this Charter shall have been met and the City Council shall fail or refuse to receive the recall petition, or order such recall election, or discharge any other duties imposed on the City Council by the provisions of this Charter with reference to such recall, then any petitioning citizen may file with the appropriate court for a writ of mandamus to force the City to call the election.