Proposed Charter Amendment

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Greg Casar
Posts: 158
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 3:20 pm

Proposed Charter Amendment

Post by Greg Casar » Fri Feb 05, 2021 5:18 pm

Colleagues,

I am proposing a charter amendment at Tuesday’s Special Called Meeting that would give City Council and the community the opportunity to make the office even stronger and more independent moving forward through future discussion and Council ordinance.

In other cities, the Office of Police Oversight is independently appointed (like our City Auditor) or has civilian reporting structures through independent boards like the police review commission. These arrangements can improve transparency and community trust, but many of these options are limited by our current charter. By making the proposed charter change, the community and City Council can weigh options and pass ordinances in the future that create the structures that are best for Austin. In the end, this is all about continuing to strengthen the police oversight function that we've worked on for years.

In most cases, I would prefer more time for community conversation before putting a charter amendment on the ballot. Since the citizen petitions have triggered a charter election, we may not have the opportunity to alter the charter again for two years, given state law. I don't want to let the moment pass us by. Further, this charter amendment is different. It creates the *option* for Council to create more independent structures, but the charter amendment does not dictate the future path. That is, this charter amendment opens the door to broader community engagement-- it does not close doors.

I'd like to thank my co-sponsors for adding their names so that we can have this discussion on Tuesday.

Thanks,
-Greg
Gregorio "Greg" Casar
Council Member District 4

Greg Casar
Posts: 158
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 3:20 pm

Re: Proposed Charter Amendment

Post by Greg Casar » Mon Feb 08, 2021 1:45 pm

Colleagues,

The charter amendment language will be in backup along with the other items for tomorrow. I am also posting the language here for your reference:

"Notwithstanding any other provision of this Charter, the city council may provide for a director of police oversight who shall be appointed and may be removed as provided by ordinance. The director shall have such duties, responsibilities, and staff as provided by ordinance, including the responsibility to ensure transparency and accountability as it relates to policing."

Thanks,
-Greg
Gregorio "Greg" Casar
Council Member District 4

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