Props 5 & 6: City Hall Hiring Practice
Austinites will vote on proposed amendments to the city charter in the November election, and KUT News will take a closer look at each of the charter propositions. Propositions 5 and 6 deal with City Council hiring policies.
Props 5 and 6 are “clean-up items,” according to Mayor Lee Leffingwell.
Proposition 5 would amend the city charter to allow council members to directly hire their own staff instead of having the city manager make those appointments.
At an early-voting kickoff event Monday morning hosted by the Love Austin bond election campaign, Leffingwell said how passing Proposition 5 would change the charter to more accurately reflect how business really gets done.
“I hire my staff,” Leffingwell said. “I decide who I’m going to hire, not the city manager. He doesn’t intervene. He respects the process, of course. This is just formalizing what is already the legal way it operates.”
Similarly, Prop 6 would allow the City Council, instead of the city manager, to hire the city attorney, which is already standard practice in many large cities.
Leffingwell says that both propositions reflect the changes that are necessary to accommodate a city that now has over 820,000 people.
“As a city grows, there are certain government functions or modalities that are appropriate to a small city, and once you get to be a bigger city, you’ve got to be able to change the way you govern with that growth in population,” he said.
Neither proposition has appeared on previous ballots. Early voting in Austin continues until Nov. 2.