Charter amendments raise some questions - Brownsville Herald: Letters To The Editor

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Charter amendments raise some questions

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Posted: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 8:00 pm


The Home Rule City Charter of Port Isabel was written by the citizens of Port Isabel; I believe the current proposed amendments were written by an attorney.

The commission started out on the right road by having an agenda item that called for the forming of a charter committee to deal with these amendments, but they dropped the ball when they canceled the formation of that committee and had the city attorney write the amendments.

That is objection No. 1.

I also have a problem with two of the amendments, one because of what it allows and one because of what I feel it restricts.

The compensation amendment: I realize that the dictionary defines compensation and salary as interchangeable. But every word accumulates connotations along the way. I don’t believe our commissioners and mayor are compensated enough for the number of meetings and the time spent in preparing for those meetings. Neither do I for one minute believe our commissioners and mayor are going to give themselves an annual salary of $92,000 a year. Yet the way this amendment is worded, a less conscientious group could do so. Do you want this possibility in the charter?

The amendment on elections: My problem here are the words that are left out. Within the current language is: “The city commission may by resolution order a special election, fix the time and place for holding same and provide all means for holding such special election. Notice of the Election shall be published in the City of Port Isabel, the first such publication to be not less than thirty eight (38) days before the Election.” Without the inclusion of this language in the Charter, will the city be able to hold special elections, such as this charter amendment election? Remember, the commission can do only what the charter permits them to do.

I believe that all of these amendments need to go back to the drawing board and be run through a citizens’ charter committee. Perhaps they can get the language right.

Rita Janeschek

Port Isabel

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