Q: What is a City Charter?
A: Comparable to a state of federal constitution, the city charter is the basic law that defines the organization, powers, functions and essential procedures of municipal government. (Source: National Civic League)
Q: Does El Paso have a City Charter?
A: Yes. The existing City Charter can be found here.
Q: When was the last time the Charter was amended?
A: The last time was in 2007. The amendments made at that time mainly related to amendments to Article VI (Civil Service) which brought provisions in line with the council-manager form of government.
Q: Why is the Council proposing to revise it now?
A: The City recognizes there are some areas of the City Charter that need to reflect and comply with State law and/ or further aligned with the council-manager form of government. Additionally, with the advent of technology and electronic form of information, some revisions will allow the City to improve and save money from improved processes.
Q: What is the process for amending the Charter?
A: Amendments to the City Charter can only be done every two years through a citizen vote during a regular City election. The next municipal election will take place May 11, 2013. In this election, voters will be voting for Mayor and four City Council District Representatives. Additionally, voters will be asked to vote on amendments to the City Charter.
Q: How will amendments be presented to the public for consideration?
The City Council created the Ad Hoc Charter Advisory Committee to enlist the assistance of members of the public to work with the Council to review and make recommendations on potential City Charter amendments for a Charter election. Attached is the Resolution approved by Council that established the Committee.
Find proposed amdendments under the Amendments link in the menu.
Click [here] to view meeting dates, agendas, and minutes.
The first City Charter for El Paso was adopted in 1907 and stayed in place until significant amendments were made and a nearly new charter was written in 1943.
In the early 80’s it was determined that El Paso needed to completely revise its Charter so in 1983 a formal charter commission was created to make the determinations of what amendments needed to be made to the Charter. In 1984 the present charter was written.
There were some amendments made to the Charter since then. State law allows home rule municipalities to make changes to their charter every two years. Off and on from 1987 to 2001 there were minor amendments made to the Charter.
In 2003 the City Council moved towards establishing a new form of government from a Strong Mayor form of government to a Council-Manager form of government and also provided for extended and staggered terms of the City Council. The major charter revision went into effect in 2004 after approval by the voters. At this time, the Civil Service Commission provisions were untouched and were not amended.
After the City Manager had been in place for several years, the City realized that it needed to make changes to the Civil Service provision of the Charter to align with the Council-manager form of government. In 2007, through a Charter Advisory Committee and the Civil Service Commission review process, those amendments to Article VI (Civil Service) were presented to the voters and ultimately approved.
Monday, January 7, 2013, 6:00 pm, City Council Chambers
Ad-Hoc Charter Review Committee
Introductory meeting; review initial draft of proposed amendments, other than Article VI (Civil Service)
Thursday, January 17, 2013, 6:00 pm, City Council Chambers
Civil Service Commission
Meeting to review the proposed amendments to Article VI (Civil Service) and provide a recommendation to the Ad Hoc Charter Review Committee
Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 4:00 pm, City Council Chambers
Ad Hoc Charter Review Committee
Meeting to review proposed article VI (Civil Service) amendments and additional discussion on other proposed amendments
Monday, January 28, 2013, 5:00 pm, City Council Chambers
Ad Hoc Charter Review Committee
Meeting to take public comment and determine final recommendations by Charter Advisory Committee
Monday, February 11, 2013, 8:30 am, City Council Chambers
Introduction and overview only of proposed charter amendments. Public comment and Council action will be taken on February 14, 2013.
Thursday, February 14, 2013, 1:00 pm, City Council Chambers
Special City Council Meeting
Discussion, public comment, and Council action on proposed charter amendments
Tuesday, February 19, 2013, 8:30 am, City Council Chambers
Introduction of ordinance calling the Special Election for Charter Amendments
Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 8:30 am, City Council Chambers
Adoption of ordinance calling the Special Election for Charter Amendments
The Ad Hoc Charter Advisory Committee will review recommendations submitted by the City Council and staff and those made upon their own initiative, and will consider public input regarding potential amendments to the City Charter. Potential Charter amendments may include revisions that (1) are appropriate to the Council-Manager form of government, (2) will continue to modernize and streamline government operations, (3) eliminate redundancies and inefficiencies or costly obligations, and (4) other changes and improvements that the Committee deems appropriate. The Ad Hoc Charter Advisory Committee will report back to the City Council with its recommendations regarding specific proposals as determined by the Legislative Review Committee or its chair.
The Ad Hoc Charter Advisory Committee Meeting met for the first time on Monday, January 7, 2013, to discuss and take action on potential Charter revisions for the May 2013 ballot. The Committee discussed, took action, or postponed each item with the exception of items related to Article VI (Civil Service). Attached is the summary of the January 7 meeting which includes the action or postponement of each item discussed as well as the schedule for future meetings where additional discussion and public comment will take place.
The Civil Service Commission reviewed and discussed items relating to Article VI on January 17, 2013. The detailed summary of that meeting can be found here. Those recommendations were presented to and discussed by the Ad Hoc Charter Advisory Committee on January 22. The summary of those actions can be found here. A final meeting of the Ad Hoc Charter Advisory Committee is scheduled for January 28 when the Committee is expected to reconcile all outstanding items and formalize its recommendation.
Click here to view meeting dates, agendas, and minutes.
The Ad Hoc Charter Review Committee held its final meeting on Monday, January 28, 2013. The Committee discussed, heard public comment and took action on all items previously pending or postponed and newly proposed amendments. The draft minutes of that meeting is available here.
The summary of all actions taken by the Ad Hoc Charter Advisory Committee will be presented to the City Council on Monday, February 11. A Special City Council meeting has also been scheduled for Thursday, February 14 at 1:00 pm to dedicate to this process and hear public comment.
Gustavo Reveles Acosta