Mission city council considers charter changes

MISSION — A discussion to make one amendment to the city charter led to talks about making a second amendment during a city workshop Monday. And now the city council appears poised to review the entire governing document, which was last updated in 1987.

Mayor Armando O’Caña proposed amending the city charter to impose term limits for his office, limiting someone serving in the role to two consecutive four-year terms. The proposal was listed in a plan of action that was part of his campaign platform when he ran for mayor last year, unseating former Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas who served in the office for 20 years.

However, that discussion led to a proposal to add two new members to the city council. The change, as discussed during Tuesday’s workshop, would have the two new members serve in at-large positions while the four existing seats would become single-member districts.

Currently, all seats on the council are at-large positions, but the change would mean citizens in a particular district be able to vote for the council member that would represent that district, as well as vote for the at-large seats.

The talks, however, are preliminary and the proposals are likely to change as they are being considered.

Council member Norie Gonzalez Garza seemed opposed to the idea of single-member districts, but was in favor of updating the city charter, suggesting they review the entire thing.

Council member Jessica Ortega-Ochoa agreed, noting that there’s been instances when the council has had to stop conducting business because of how the way the city charter was written back then.

“I would not mind taking time to dissect it, since it hasn’t been done since 1987,” Ortega-Ochoa said, later adding that she supported expanding the number of members on the council and setting term limits for the mayor.

“I think that a mayor should do what needs to be done in eight years,” she said.

The council is not expected to meet again on the amendments until August, allowing the city staff time to research how the charters of neighboring cities are written.

Changes to the city charter would have to be approved by voters. Before doing so, however, the council would have to approve ordinances recommending those changes no sooner than 30 days before an election on the amendments is held.