Charter election includes proposed term increase for council

By Tori Knox

Fort Worth council members’ terms could be increased by residents in the charter election May 7.
Currently, Fort Worth council members serve a two-year term after being elected into office. If Proposition 1 passes, the council members’ terms would increase to three years.
The City Charter Review Task Force, whose recommendations also include increasing the number of council members and raising the salary of council members, recommended the proposed term increase.
The task force compared Fort Worth with cities similar in population and style of government, said Mary Kayser, city secretary of Fort Worth.
In the state of Texas, local government terms can range from two to four years, and Fort Worth’s city council has always stayed with two-year terms, Kayser said.
The three-year terms would create more of an independent election cycle for council members, said Mattie Parker, chief of staff for the mayor and city council of Fort Worth.
Under the current two-year terms new council members get seated on the council during the middle of the budget process which means they really only serve through one budget process, Kayser said.
The budget process is a large part of what council members do, and with three-year terms council members would be a part of two budget processes, Parker said.
The two-year term limits what council members can do, Kayser said.
“There’s just not enough time to really complete some things that [council members] might have come forward onto the council wanting to do,” Kayser said.
Parker said two years is too short because council members are always campaigning.
“You want to encourage people to be focused on the topic and the issue at hand,” Parker said. “I think three years is a good compromise in many ways.”
If Proposition 1 passes, the candidates who run in the May 2017 election will be running for a three-year term.
The charter election will be held on May 7.

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