The Bridge City Charter Review Commission Tuesday discussed ways to publicize four proposed charter amendments, including one changing present term limits, to be placed on the May ballot. 

City council members approved the proposed amendments Dec. 15.
Amendment 1, if passed by voters, would change mayor and council terms from three consecutive two-year terms to five consecutive two-year terms.

“We’d be going from six years to 10 years,” said City Manager Jerry Jones, also an ex-officio commission member. “It’s hard to get good people on the council … and two to four years [in the position] isn’t really enough. After that time some may still be learning what they need to know to be involved in city affairs.”

 Commission member John Dubose, also Orange County commissioner for Precinct 3, suggested talks to area civic groups or ads in the paper.

“There’s not a lot of political interest this year and we need people to get out and vote for this,” he said. 

The commission could take out ads in the media, he said, however, the city itself cannot legally endorse the idea. Jones also suggested a word-of-mouth campaign. 

Early voting starts April 26, according to City Secretary Sherry Tisdale.

Here is the wording of the proposed amendments:

1. The charter amendment setting term limits for the offices of mayor and council at five consecutive two-year terms for each respective office, after which the office holder must remain out of office for at least 11 months.

2. The charter amendment requiring any ordinance to be read, in caption form only, at a regular session of city council prior to passage.

3. The charter amendment automatically correcting charter provisions to comply with state and federal law.

4. The charter amendment allowing city council the discretion to determine and remove from office a mayor or council member who has been absent from three or more consecutive council meetings without a valid excuse.

In addition to Dubose, review commission members are City Councilman Robert Simonton, chairman; Bobbie Burgess, Gary Hinton, Councilman Richard Savoy, Roberta Overstreet, Donna Scales, Christy Teague, Don Bartz and Jerry McInnis. Ex-officio members are Jones, City Attorney Paul Fukuda and Tisdale.

The commission met three times in 2009 – Aug. 25, Sept. 8 and Oct. 7.