El Campo residents may get to vote on whether they want a voice in how the city’s mayor is selected.

A 400-plus name petition turned into City Hall Wednesday calls for the issue to be placed on the upcoming May 2020 ballot via a proposed charter amendment making the mayor the top vote-getter among at-large council members.

City Council will be formally presented the petition during the regular council session starting at 6:30 p.m. Also on the agenda for Monday is a closed door session with the city attorney to discuss the legal requirements of the petition and the proposed election item.

The mayor choice petition effort is being led by Councilmen Chris Barbee and David Hodges.

To bring the issues to voters, they needed to collect signatures of 5 percent of the city’s registered voters, an estimated 314, of the 6,271 listed on the voter roll.

The petition had 433 names when turned in with more still expected.

Each, Hodges said, has already been vetted through the county elections office.

“Everybody I talked to said that it was the fair way to do it. I just want it to be fair,” Hodges said.

As a district council member, Hodges would never be able to serve as mayor if the proposal passes. But, he says, it makes the process fair.

“Some people won’t be happy with it, but I don’t know why. It’s just giving people a choice,” Hodges said.

Contingent upon validating the registered voters on the petition, the proposed charter amendment will be placed on the upcoming May election ballot, City Manager Courtney Sladek said.

By city requirement, however, City Secretary Lori Hollingsworth will first review petition signers to ensure they are registered to vote in the city limits.

“We’ve well exceeded the requirement,” Barbee said.

Of the people he spoke with, Barbee added, “A lot of people are well aware of how the mayor is currently elected and the majority want a voice in how the mayor is elected.”

Other legal requirements will be reviewed Monday with the city attorney.

The El Campo City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday in chambers, 315 E. Jackson. The meeting is open to the public with time specifically designated for citizen comments.

Other items before Council include:

• A review of the city’s strategic plan.

• A change in the employee leave donation policy.

• The purchase of a new ambulance.

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