Crockett Suspends Work on Updating City Charter

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT –  The city of Crockett held a committee meeting Monday, Oct. 30 to further the work on revamping the city’s charter, parts of which date to the 1960’s. The city is pushing the initiative to finish in February, so the city council can vote on the proposals for changes and have the initiatives on the ballot for voters for the May elections. 

The work has been briefly halted as the city looks for a new consultant to help the navigate the complicated legal work of updating the charter. Crockett City Administrator John Angerstein told the Messenger the city’s consultant was not able to provide the more personalized, city-specific assistance he felt they needed, so the work has been halted pending finding someone to do the job.

The overall push comes from the fact that many of the provisions in the city’s charter are either vague, or outdated. This is the second push over several years to update the document, with proponents promising this time, the work will be completed. 

Some of the provisions are not only unclear, some have become illegal and out of step with state legislation as laws have shifted over the decades. 

Several key provisions will be under review and must be altered, removed or put in line with current practice, such as where the current charter states:

  • City employees’ wages cannot be garnished for any reason, although state law does permit this in the case of court-ordered child support
  • The city mayor may not serve more than three consecutive two-year terms, but makes no mention of other elected city officials. This limit has not been enforced consistently over the years. 
  • City council members are not required to live in the district they represent, which may need to be reviewed or revised. 
  • City council members are required to have resided in the city for at least three years prior to elections. This is no longer valid under state law. 
  • City council members are required to own real estate in the city. This, too, is no longer valid under state law.
  • Compensation for the mayor is set at $75/month and city council members at $50/month. 
  • City council currently appoints all personnel, based on nominations by the mayor, which is not common. 
  • A health department must be established, headed by a licensed physician, which does not exist. 
  • The police department chief is appointed by the mayor, but can only be fired by the city council; an uncommon practice. 
  • Police officers are appointed by the city council, but can be fired by the chief without the consent of the city council – also unusual. 

As the work of this committee gets underway again, The Messenger will report on this important work to update and modify the “rule book” the city uses to govern itself. 

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]

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