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Hayden: Charter Election Proposals Explained

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Flower Mound Mayor Tom Hayden
Flower Mound Mayor Tom Hayden

We have an important election coming up, not just for the future of our country, but also one that will shape Flower Mound. In addition to picking the next president on your ballot, the Town of Flower Mound has several Charter Election propositions for residents to decide. The Town Charter defines the organization, powers, functions, and essential procedures of our Flower Mound government.

Here’s a breakdown of what is being proposed on the ballot:

Proposition No. 1: If approved, will increase the number of years that a council member serves from two to three years after elected, and allows for two additional terms if a council member becomes mayor, and removes Charter provisions inconsistent with state law.

Why this matters: This has the potential to calm the tumultuous politics in Flower Mound and expand the number of people who will run for Council. The first year of a Council member’s term is largely a learning experience of how the Town functions, current issues, and researching various matters. This will provide more continuity for those serving, while also retaining the term limits of 6 years. Meaning a sitting Council member would be limited to two, three-year terms instead of three, two-year terms. There will still be elections each year, but only for two positions instead of three.

Proposition No. 2: This is a housekeeping item that, if approved, will remove language inconsistent with state law and allows a Town employee to announce his/her candidacy for elective office without forfeiting his employment with the Town. Only if elected, will he or she forfeit employment with the Town of Flower Mound.

Why this matters: Our Town charter should be consistent with state law.

Proposition No. 3: If approved, the Charter will be revised to include a procedure for the Town Council to follow to determine whether a sitting Council member has forfeited his/her office and to determine whether a sitting council member should be removed from office.

Why this matters: This proposition will establish a process to be used in handling Charter violations by elected officials.

Proposition No. 4: The Charter will be amended to remove the requirement that all ordinances adopted by the Town be published except those ordinances required to be published by law.

Why this matters: Publications will be handled in compliance with state law, saving tax dollars by not purchasing classified ads in newspapers for ordinances that are not required by law to be published.

Proposition No. 5: Establishes a process for removal of the municipal judge.

Why this matters: Currently, Flower Mound does not have a removal process of the municipal judge and this will establish one.

Proposition No. 6: If approved, five percent of registered voters are needed for initiative and referendum petitions. For a recall petition, 50 percent +1 of the number of the total votes cast for that council member and all of his/her opponents in the last contested general municipal election in which he/she was a candidate.

Why this matters: This is an important decision and if approved, it will reduce the number of signatures required for a recall petition and a petition for legislation, giving more power to residents.

Proposition No. 7: If approved, the Parks, Arts, and Library Services Board language removed from the Charter.

Why this matters: This is a housekeeping item that, if approved, will allow the Town to rename the Parks, Arts, and Library Services Board to the Park Board, with the Cultural Arts Commission continuing to handle library and arts items.

Proposition No. 8: If approved, the requirement that the Town budget be filed with various County and State agencies will be removed from the Charter. In addition, it will allow the transfer of funds between departments without the requirement of a budget amendment.

Why it matters: This is a housekeeping item that, if approved, saves the Town money by removing the requirement for the Town to file the budget with the State Comptroller’s office. We are required by state law to file our budget with the Denton and Tarrant County Clerk’s office and will continue to do so; however, state law does not require us to file with the State.

The second part of this proposition will remove Charter provisions inconsistent with state law, and would change the language to reflect the actual process followed by the Town. This does not change how the Town operates.

I believe these proposed Charter changes will not only help the document reflect current state laws, but will also make positive changes in our local government. If you have any questions about the Charter propositions, feel free to reach out to me at 214.384.1105 or the Town Secretary’s Office at 972.874.6070. For more information about voting times and locations, please visit www.flower-mound.com/elections.

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