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Granite Shoals looks at rule change for committee formation

Granite Shoals Councilor Steve Hougen

Granite Shoals Place 4 Councilor Steve Hougen at a recent City Council meeting. At the April 11 meeting, Hougen suggested the city draft an ordinance with rules for forming official city committees, boards, and commissions. While the current city charter says these organizations are to be created by the council, no exact method is specified. File photo

Granite Shoals is drafting an ordinance on the proper procedures for forming committees, boards, and commissions after complaints were made about two committees created by Mayor Aaron Garcia last December. At the April 11 regular meeting, the City Council instructed City Attorney Joshua Katz to bring a draft ordinance to them for review at the April 25 meeting. 

Place 4 Councilor Steve Hougen asked the council to consider establishing specific procedures for committee creation. He suggested the ordinance require majority approval by the council before a commission or committee could be formed. A majority council vote would also be required to appoint a committee chair.

An official complaint filed against Mayor Garcia on March 16 cited his formation of a city manager search committee in December 2022 as a violation of section 8.01 of the city charter. The complaint is currently under investigation by a subcommittee consisting of three council members: Hougen, Kevin Flack, and Micheal Berg. 

The language in section 8.01 states that official committees, boards, and commissions are to be created by the council but does not include procedures for doing so. 

“What we’re mainly concerned with is who can establish a committee, and the answer is in the first sentence,” Hougen told the council.

The first sentence of 8.01 reads: “The City Council shall create, establish or appoint, as may be required by the laws of the State of Texas or this Charter, or deemed desirable by the City Council, such boards, commissions, and committees as it deems necessary to carry out the functions and obligations of the City.”

Hougen asked Katz for clarification on the matter.

“We’ve never adopted an ordinance that specifically sets out how boards, committees, and commissions are created,” Katz said. 

He recommended adopting an ordinance to be included in sections 2-51 of the city’s code of ordinances.

Mayor Garcia addressed the complaint against him during the April 11 council meeting, stating that his formation of the city manager search committee was closer to the formation of a task force rather than an official city committee.

After Katz comes back with a draft ordinance, the council is expected to hold a workshop session to tweak it before bringing it back for a vote.