AUSTIN, Texas - In a special-called meeting Tuesday, the Austin City Council approved for voters to decide if the city should operate under a strong-mayor, or in other words, a mayor-council form of government.
If approved in May, the ordinance will allow a special election to let voters decide if they want the new form of government. Right now, Austin runs under a council-city manager system.
"In a strong-mayor city the mayor is the chief executive, chief administrator, responsible for day to day operations, they hire, fire, do all of those things. Mayors are also politicians and they are partisan, " said Marc Ott, former city manager, on Feb. 3.
However, not all were on board with the idea.
Bo Delp with UNITE HERE, a hospitality workers union, is against the form of governance. His group gathered at city hall to protest. "If we give all the power in the city to one person and we didn't even know who that person is going to be, it puts everything this council has done at risk," he said.
Council also decided to put the camping ban on the ballot. If voters approve, the citywide camping ban will be restored, and panhandling will not be allowed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
In addition, voters will decide on the arbitration process for the Austin Firefighters Association. Also, voters will decide on making the city’s Office of Police Oversight independently operated and/or overseen by a civilian board.