City Council to Consider Task Force Recommendations
At their Jan. 9, 2023 Work Session, the City Council received recommendations from the Charter Review Task Force on amending sections of the City Charter to comply with state and federal laws, as well as currently established best practices for municipal governments. The City Council will review the proposed changes over the next several weeks to determine if a Charter Amendment Election should be called.
The Charter Review Task Force, made up of 3 Council Members and eight citizens, met in November and December to review specific sections of the charter pertaining to Civil Service, Planning & Zoning, Municipal Court, City Secretary and City Council. The Task Force’s review was limited in scope to sections of the Charter where updating and clarification are needed to comply with current laws and best practices for cities.
Following is a summary of the proposed changes:
- Limit the jurisdiction of the Civil Service system established in the Charter to apply only to commissioned public safety employees below the rank of Captain in the Police Department or Battalion Chief in the Fire Department, and peace officers in the Marshal’s office.
- Remove specific procedures for employment actions such as hiring, promoting or disciplining a Civil Service employee from the Charter and transfer those provisions to the Civil Service Rules. Any changes to Civil Service Rules will be recommended by the Civil Service Commission and approved by the City Council.
- Changes to the Civil Service Chapter retain the intended protections from interference or influence for public safety employees and allows greater flexibility in attracting and retaining employees in increasingly competitive markets.
Planning & Zoning Commission
- Remove the requirement that City Council must approve all plats and authorize the Planning and Zoning Commission to approve plats as delegated by the City Council and as authorized by state law.
- Add the ability for the Council to appoint alternate Planning and Zoning Commission Members to serve in the absence of an appointed Planning and Zoning Commissioner, and vote accordingly.
- Remove the requirement that Planning and Zoning Commissioners own real property in North Richland Hills.
- Authorize the appointment and removal of Planning and Zoning Commissioners by a simple majority vote of the City Council.
Municipal Court & City Secretary
- Bring the Charter into alignment with state law regarding the appointment of Municipal Court Judges.
- Remove the requirement that the Clerk of the Municipal Court be appointed by the City Council.
- Remove the requirement that Assistant City Secretaries be appointed by the Council. The City Secretary will still be appointed by the Council.
- Require that candidates for City Council be registered to vote in NRH.
- Expand the list of crimes that would cause a City Council Member to forfeit their position to include a conviction or plea of guilty or no contest to a misdemeanor or felony involving a crime of moral turpitude, fraud, deceit, theft or dishonesty.
- Include the authority to establish a succession of authority plan in the absence of both the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem.
- Require the minimum number of times an advertisement of adopted ordinances that assess fines, fees or penalties must be published in the city’s official newspaper to once. Additional advertisements can be made, but would not be required.
- References to members of the City Council will be changed to Council members or Council member in order to be consistent and gender neutral.
- Remove any redundancies or inconsistencies, correct any typographical errors, and remove or modify any language that conflicts with or is preempted by other state or federal legislation throughout the Charter.
01/09/23 City Council Meeting Memorandum
Charter Review Task Force Report
Charter Review Task Force Motions
Nov. 14, 2022 Post
City Council Appoints Charter Review Task Force
At their Nov. 14, 2022 meeting, the City Council appointed a Charter Review Task Force to consider updates to the City Charter.
The City Charter is a legal document that describes the city’s boundaries, form of government and general powers; establishes its administrative structure; establishes the authority for granting of franchises and other functions; and provides for controls such as initiative, referendum, and recall. The North Richland Hills City Charter was originally adopted in 1964 and was last amended in 2001.
Since the last amendments, portions of the Charter are now in conflict with State law and updates should be considered to a few other sections. Following their review, the Charter Review Task Force will make recommendations to the City Council who will consider calling a Charter Amendment Election.
The Charter Review Task Force is composed of three members of the City Council and eight citizens of the City of North Richland Hills. They include:
- Scott Turnage, Chair
- Mason Orr, Vice Chair
- Rita Wright Oujesky
- Briane Goetz
- Jason Steinsultz
- Jason Winans
- Melissa Kates
- Mike Benton
- Patti Hourihan
- Phil Beckman
- Steve Koons