During a Jan. 11 special meeting, the city council for Missouri City unanimously approved a series of charter amendments from its charter review commission, including establishing four-year terms and a limit of three consecutive terms for the mayor and council members.
Missouri City residents will have a chance to approve or reject the charter amendments in a special election in May.
The city’s charter review commission, which convenes every four years, issued its final report Dec. 21 and Assistant City Attorney James Santangelo presented the commission’s findings to the council.
Noel Pinnock, a real estate agent who has been a Missouri City resident for more than 20 years, said “there is no way in the world” he would support four-year terms for city council seats.
“The charter is under attack and though some things need to be clarified, I believe no one should have four years as a mayor or councilmember in a small suburban city,” Pinnock said. “It doesn't take that long to understand your constituents and if you need more than two years, then one should reconsider.”
District B Councilman Jeffrey Boney said he was in agreement with all of the recommendations, but made an unsuccessful motion to modify the amendment to establish three-year term limits instead of four.
Councilwoman Vashaundra Edwards of At-Large Position 1 said she felt four-year terms were necessary to be comfortable within the position.
“I agree with the four-year, even-number terms,” Edwards said. “I do think you need enough time to make sure that you understand how the city council membership is ran, how the position is ran.”
Mayor Robin Elackatt and Councilwoman Cheryl Sterling of District A also voiced their support for four-year terms.
On May 1, the six proposed amendments will appear on the ballot in a special election. If passed by voter approval, the items would result in the following changes:
- The provision in the charter that states the mayor shall act as chief administrative officer until a city manager is appointed will be deleted.
- The extension of the term of mayor and all city council positions from two to four years.
- The limitation of 12 consecutive years of service on council before requiring a minimum sit-out period of two years before an individual can serve on council again.
- The amount of time the city manager may transfer unencumbered funds would change from 60 to 90 days after the end of any given fiscal year.
- A clarification would be added stating that bids are only required to be received and considered by council for competitive bond sales.
- The appointment month of charter review commission members would move from July to January.