“The Charter Committee has gone to great lengths in making the lines between elected officials and appointed officials very clear and in terms of the language that has been proposed, I’m fine with that,” said City Manager Andy Barton as the Mesquite City Council debated a new charter for the city.
After nearly two and a half hours of discussion before the regular City Council meeting on Nov. 9 and an additional hour during the agenda item, the Mesquite City Council approved a draft Charter brought with only three minor changes.
The one change that brought the most controversy pertained to the city manager’s ability to hire and fire executive officers appointed to city government. This includes the City Clerk, Finance Director, Chief of Police, Fire Chief or any other executive position the city may create in the future. Council voted to accept the items within the charter with an amendment that the city manager cannot hire or fire any of the officers within that parameter without first getting approval or ratification from the City Council at a proper meeting. This would prevent some instances of manipulation as the city has experienced before.
“The City Manager cannot arbitrarily fire any of the Executive Officers. It would have to be the City Manager coming to council before the act took place and getting a majority vote to ratify and approve it,” said Councilman George Rapson. “I’m good with that.”
The second item needing a slight amendment stated that the mayor and council members may not be employed full time with the City. Mayor Al Litman, who has already received an opinion from the Nevada Attorney General that his part time employment as a Spin Class Instructor does not and would not pose a conflict of interest with his position as Mayor of Mesquite requested the change.
The final change to the Charter pertained to declared emergencies. Before the change, any declared emergency would require full ratification of the council before city government could act. The council said that they would prefer it to say that the Council would review the stated emergency at the next council meeting after the incident. That would ensure that such a declaration would not be made abusively by the mayor, and if it was, then they could take action.
The changes, as well as other punctuation edits, will be submitted to the Legislative Charter Board by Nov. 15, where it will then go forward into possible legislation by February 2017.