LUBBOCK, Texas — The Lubbock City Council held a meeting Tuesday with the Charter Review Committee, whose job it was to look for ways to modernize the charter.
“You know I’ve spent a lot of time with the charter before to know it needs an update,” said Mayor Pro Tempore, Steve Massengale.
The committee met twice to hear from citizens about what they wanted from an updated charter, then discussed and voted amongst themselves before bringing their recommendations to the city council today.
“At the time we voted we had a 7-0 majority or a unanimous vote that we wanted to recommend to City Council,” said Chairman of the Charter Review Committee, James Arnold.
The committee suggested the charter be updated to adhere to state law and include gender neutral language and discouraging the addition of any new city council seats or a longer mayor term length.
Also offering a change to the rules regarding petitions to recall council members. Setting the number of signatures required for a petition before the recall is initiated to 10% of the number of voters registered 30 days before the petition is submitted.
“We had a lot of debate back and forth on that,” said Arnold.
But much of the discussion revolved around wage increases for the Mayor and City Council. The committee recommended setting the Mayor’s pay to $15,600 a year, while Council members would make $9,600 a year.
These wages would be adjusted for inflation every 2 years, but these are not considered liveable wages.
“I don’t think and I don’t believe that our citizens expect a living wage for the mayor or for the council,” said Mayor of Lubbock, Dan Pope.
The committee based these wage numbers off the councils of similar sized cities. But some council members argue living wages are needed to make city council more accessible.
“My concern is at this point that we are not being inclusive to the population of Lubbock, and I make that comment on the basis of salary. The issue is that not all the public can afford to run for city council. I think we are being exclusive by the document. I wish it were a fully compensated livable salary,” said City Councilor for District 1, Juan Chadis
As of now, no action on the items discussed in Tuesday’s meeting has been taken, but the next step is for the City Council to approve or deny these recommendations, then the public will be able to vote on them.