What is a Proposition?
A proposition entails a proposal or topic of some sort presented for consideration or acceptance.
There has been a recent call made by the Oklahoma City Council for a revised edit of the City Charter. This proposed edit comprises an upgraded use of language and several resolutions undertaking some discrepancies found in state law on the City Charter. These proposed changes or amendments will be presented upon a separate ballot on November 3, 2020, the same date as the nationwide general election. The Charter Review appointed by Mayor David Holt recommended nine propositions after considering a wide range of issues.
This Charter Review consists of 7 members:
- Ward 8 Councilman Mark K. Stonecipher (co-chair)
- Sharon Voorhees
- Leslie Batchelor
- Miriam Campos
- Ward 2 Councilperson James Cooper
- Stan Evans
- Rachel Pappy
There are nine proposed Charter amendments, and Oklahoma City voters will consider them as separate propositions with a “yes” or “no” vote. Each requires a simple majority to pass. The Governor of Oklahoma, Kevin Stitt must also review and sign voter-approved Charter amendments for them to formally become law.
The first proposed Charter amendment would make minor changes regarding elections for Mayor and Council:
- The name of the February “primary” election would become the “general” election, and April’s “general” election would become the “runoff” election.
- Councilmembers and the Mayor would take office four weeks after the “runoff” (currently “general”) election, instead of one week.
- Requirements for election notices and candidacy declarations would be changed to comply with current state law, which already supersedes the Charter’s outdated language.
If approved, this proposition will amend Article II, Section 2, and Article X, Sections 1-3 of the Charter.
This proposed amendment would affect qualifications to run for Mayor or a City Council seat:
- The description of the requirements will be reformatted to make it easier to read.
- The required time period for candidates to live in Oklahoma City before filing to run for office would shorten from 3 years to 1 year.
- Candidates would be required to be a registered voter in Oklahoma City for the year immediately preceding a formal declaration of candidacy.
- Candidates for Council seats would also be required to be registered to vote in the Ward in which they are running for at least one year before a formal declaration of candidacy.
If approved, this proposition will amend Article II, Section 6 of the Charter.
- This proposition would extend the time period from 15 days to 30 days to call a special election, or to appoint a temporary Mayor, if the office is vacant. It makes the time period consistent with the same requirement for vacant Council seats. Appointment of a temporary Mayor can only occur if the vacancy is in the last year of the term.
If approved, this proposition will amend Article II, Section 10 of the Charter.
- Proposition 4 would amend an outdated requirement for Council meetings to match the current practice of setting meeting schedules by ordinance. The Council currently meets every other Tuesday.
If approved, this proposition will amend Article II, Section 11 of the Charter.
- This proposed amendment would allow the Mayor or a Councilmember to provide information to the City Manager about a City employee’s job performance. The information would be required to be based on direct personal knowledge, or a signed, written statement from a resident.
- The Charter prohibits the Mayor or Councilmembers from giving orders to City Manager subordinates, and from directing or requesting appointment or removal of a City employee. The narrow proposed change in Proposition 5 would explicitly provide a way for the Mayor and Councilmembers to provide positive or negative feedback without violating the Charter.
If approved, this proposition will amend Article IV, Section 4 of the Charter.
- This proposition would clarify who is in the City’s Division of Public Affairs. The city’s Division of Public Affairs is under the direct control of the City Council.
- It would include the City Manager, Municipal Councilor, City Auditor, Municipal Court judges, and all City boards, commissions and committees created by the Mayor and Council.
If approved, this proposition will amend Article IV, Section 6 of the Charter.
- This would change the term “Councilman” to “Councilmember” or “Councilor” where the Charter refers to Council representatives.
If approved, this proposition will enact a new Section 11 in Article IX of the Charter that directs the City Clerk to work with the Municipal Counselor to make the changes throughout the Charter.
- This proposal would amend the section of the Charter granting powers to the City government, and reformat it into five subsections for easier reading. It would also add the word “welfare” to the list of powers for enacting and enforcing ordinances “to protect health, safety, welfare, life or property.”
If approved, this proposition will amend Article I, Section 3 of the Charter.
- This proposed amendment would re-word a section heading and more clearly state its apparent, original intent to prevent improper transactions related to certain businesses, and City franchise agreements.
- It would prevent City employees and officers from accepting things of value on terms unavailable to the general public from privately-owned transportation businesses and utilities. It would allow for franchises and contracts to be conditioned upon free service for City employees and officers while engaged in official duties.
If approved, this proposition will amend Article IV, Section 12 of the Charter.