The first step changing the way the city does business comes before the El Campo council Monday along with a request to help honor a fallen law enforcement officer.
Appointed in July of odd-numbered years, the Charter Review Commission recommends changes to city council which, if deemed necessary, go before municipal voters in May of even-numbered years, in this case 2020.
The commission already has one item to consider – the way El Campo elects its mayor.
The City Charter calls for four district representatives and three at-large with council selecting the mayor among themselves.
Councilman Chris Barbee is leading the effort to give citizens more input into selecting the mayor. He is proposing a charter amendment to formalize a tradition of making the top vote-getter in the at-large race the city’s mayor.
“I don’t know of anybody in the country who elects (the mayor) the way we do,” he told council during a June discussion of the issue, calling for the change.
In the last at-large race, Barbee was the top vote-getter with Randy Collins, the man selected as mayor, taking third place.
City officials contend, however, that the proposal would not pass a Department Of Justice review. Instead council would likely have to be redistricted, City Attorney Ronny Collins said.
The change would start at the charter level.
Each council member appoints one to the review commission. Previous Charter Review Committee members with the name of their council sponsor in parenthesis are: John Crowell (Mayor Randy Collins), first appointed 2015; former councilman Ed Erwin (John Hancock), first appointed 2017; and former councilman Bobby Perez (Gloria Harris), first appointed 2013.
Councilman Jeff Allgayer had previously appointed Barbee to the commission.
For Councilmen Barbee and David Hodges as well as Mayor Pro Tem Philip Miller, 2019 will be a first appointment. Miller, however, had served on Council previously.
Other members of the 2017 commission were former councilman Anthony Collins, Jill Stafford and Linda Raun.
Council members do not have to reappoint the same member, but often do.
Veterans activist Sarah Hudgins returns to council with another request – this one to help honor a game warden killed in the line of duty.
The state has approved placing markers on Hwy. 71 from the north El Campo boundary to the Matagorda County line designating it as the Justin Hurst Memorial Highway.
Hudgins is preparing a dedication ceremony and is requesting to use the El Campo Civic Center free of charge.
Hurst was killed March 17, 2007 when during a shootout with a heavily-armed poacher near Lissie. His killer has since been executed by the State Of Texas.
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.
Items appearing on the consent agenda include:
• Accepting a firm to perform audit services.
• New Councilman David Hodges’ grievance board appointment and a review of all others. Each elected council member appoints one person to serve on the seven-member grievance board. The board meets only when needed.