City council delays election on proposed changes to Lubbock charter

The Lubbock City Council decided to delay sending proposed amendments to the city charter to...
The Lubbock City Council decided to delay sending proposed amendments to the city charter to the voters on a November ballot.(Source: KCBD)
Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 5:47 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Disagreements and confusion prompted the Lubbock City Council to put a pause on sending 11 proposed changes to the city charter to voters this November.

“I must say that I’m disappointed that we’ve gotten to the same point that at least two councils before us in the last ten or 12 years have reached,” Mayor Dan Pope told the council.

A seven-member Charter Review Committee was appointed by the council in early 2021 and was charged with proposing ways the charter could be “cleaned up” and to identify any necessary changes to council compensation as outlined in the charter.

The eleven proposed changes were presented to the council in June to decide on what will ultimately make it to a ballot for voter approval, which is required by law.

Tuesday’s meeting was the third time the council discussed the proposals with an August deadline looming to order a charter amendment election for November. Ultimately, disagreements centering around council compensation and public confusion over a rewrite of the initiative, referendum and recall process led the council to pause the effort.

“I don’t feel like it’s the right time this year to do this,” Councilman Jeff Griffith said. “There are some of the cleanups I totally agree with but I personally don’t think it’s the right time to do this. It’s very quick. [The committee] did great work. I think we need, at a different time, another look.”

Multiple councilmembers said members of the public contacted them with concerns over Proposition C, the effort to clear up the initiative, referendum and recall process.

“I think there’s still a great deal of misunderstanding as to what it is now and what’s being recommended.” Councilman Randy Christian said. “I think there need to be more conversations so people will understand where we are going with this. That’s the one I received the most comments about. I do think we need to back up and make sure people understand and it’s very clear what we’re doing particularly on Proposition C.”

To watch the explanation of Proposition C and other proposed amendments, click here.

In multiple meetings councilmembers have voiced disagreements over council pay, some of them arguing for more than what’s recommended and others saying a change is not necessary. Councilman Juan Chadis has voiced support for what he says is a livable wage.

“Once it becomes a livable salary, we’ll be making this dais available or accessible to 70-75 percent of the population.” Chadis said. “Right now at $25 a month, a great majority of the people can’t afford to be up here on the dais. You make it $800 and $1300, that’s a great increase but I don’t see the dynamics changing.”

Most changes to the charter were designed to bring the document into compliance with state law and current practices. City Attorney Chad Weaver said it would be okay to delay the changes and continue operating with the current charter since state law already supersedes city policy.

Mayor Pope told the council the topic of charter amendments would be revisited in November planning discussions.

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