The Charter Review Committee’s attempt to brand its extension of the strong-mayor form of government as “temporary” should be altered, as its proposal would indeed make the trial run permanent, says Independent Budget Analyst Andrea Tevlin.

That proposal was front and center in a report her office released this week in preparation for the City Council’s upcoming decisions on what changes they want voters to make to the City Charter next year. The council will begin its review of the recommendations Mayor Jerry Sanders’ citizen committee made earlier this month.

The IBA notes that, despite the committee’s characterization of its proposal to “extend” the strong-mayor experiment past 2010 for four more years, the arrangement becomes permanent unless a subsequent vote is taken to repeal it. Voters should be told that the proposal isn’t temporary, the report states.

From the report:

The IBA wishes to point out that, although the committee has characterized this as an extended trial period, it is actually being made permanent through this proposal. Generally in a trial, a decision on the question is required at the end of the trial period. This provision does not require the question to be called at the end of the trial, which effectively means it is permanent if passed by the voters next year.

Tevlin’s office also says that the veto-override should only be bolstered to a two-thirds council vote if it is tied to the expansion of council seats. If the override proposal passes but the expansion to districts fails, the council could actually be required to have six votes to override, or 75 percent, which is would be “a uniquely high hurdle,” Tevlin said.

Others have called the current proposal, to require eight votes on an 11-member council to override a veto, nearly 73 percent, similarly burdensome.

The council begins its review of the charter proposal Wednesday at the Rules Committee.

Correction: The original version of this post erroneously stated that the Office of the Independent Budget Analyst advocated that the City Council allow the full five-year trial period of strong-mayor expire before seeking to make it permanent. The report only advocated for labeling an upcoming proposal extending strong-mayor as “permanent” rather than “temporary.” We regret the error.


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