Leander will consider creating a Board Selection Committee in response to recommendations made Dec. 20 by the Charter Review Commission.
The commission, appointed two months ago to review Leander's city charter, suggested seven changes to the guiding document during a joint meeting with Leander City Council, which will review the recommendations before its Jan. 12 retreat.
A final vote on any charter amendments will be held Feb. 1, at which point any approved changes must go before voters for final approval on the May ballot.
While reviewing items of concern within the charter, the commission realized there was not a consistent method for appointing members—area residents—to outside boards, Chairman Braden Frame told the council.
Currently, members of the Planning and Zoning Commission, as well as the Ethics Commission, are nominated by individual council members; their nominations are followed by a consensus vote.
But because those are the only two commissions with any charter-specified methods for selecting members, Braden said, the commission proposed creating a Board Selection Committee composed of three council members for non-consecutive, one-year terms to create a universal system for naming residents to various committees.
“That was something we debated quite a bit,” Braden said. “But any opportunity to remove any perceived impropriety seems like a good idea.”
Mayor Chris Fielder said that all City Council members have had instances in which they recommended members to serve on those boards whose views did not necessarily align with their own. Still, the council agreed that a more impartial method would protect everyone involved.
“I think the key thing is removing the perceived tie between the two,” said Councilman David Siebold, who also suggested that it would defeat the purpose of having any commission if council were to simply appoint members who share their voting beliefs.
The Board Selection Committee is also appealing, Councilwoman Michell Cantwell said, because the inconsistent appointment process has been problematic in the past.
“It has created a lot of confusion for applicants that step forward,” she said. “I think it will just help to alleviate any confusion throughout the whole process, and it should be a little less political.”
Other commission recommendations included:
• City officials may not be reimbursed on necessary expenses incurred while on official duties once they have already been reimbursed from a different source.
• A provision ensuring no candidate may file for more than one city office or place “in an election or elections held on the same date.” The commission also proposed including language that would require a fee for interested candidates seeking office.
• “Reuse water” was added to a provision that stipulates the city may charge for various public utilities.
• Revising language about acceptable methods of indicating a vote on ballots to make rules consistent with state law. Other measures examined included efforts to have police department employees evaluated annually only by the city manager.