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TipSheet: Austin City Council, 2.25.16

Thursday, February 25, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

The short-term rental issue may be resolved, but there’s plenty left for City Council to discuss this week. Council will hold its regular meeting Thursday. Below is a list of items we’re watching. In the interest of space, we’ve decided not to post the entire agenda. The Office of the City Clerk posts a copy on its website, here.

16. Approve a resolution establishing a process for performance reviews of the City Manager, City Clerk, City Auditor, and Clerk of the Municipal Court.

Monitor’s take: What should be a really boring item could bring high drama, thanks to a community call for “open evaluation” of the city manager that Council Member Don Zimmerman joined yesterday. Though that has never been on the table, Mayor Steve Adler opened the door for the discussion by proposing a different evaluation process for City Council’s direct hire evaluations. You can read more about his proposal here.

23. Approve execution of an amendment to the interlocal agreement with the University of Texas for the U.S. Department of Justice grant-funded program, Restore Rundberg, to add approximately 10 months to the term.

Monitor’s take: We doubt this will be very controversial, but that doesn’t mean it’s not interesting. If you, too, are interested in the Restore Rundberg project, the Monitor recommends a read of KUT reporter Audrey McGlinchy’s recent (excellent) piece, in case you missed it the first time around.

43. Approve an ordinance amending chapter 2-5 of the city code relating to council committees and procedures for council meetings.

Monitor’s take: With what little energy it had left after the STR discussion, Council had a tiny fight about how the committee system should be reformed. That means that we’ll continue to watch what happens here, but all indications are that Council will most likely postpone an actual vote on any changes until its next meeting.

48. Approve a resolution initiating historic zoning for Rosewood Courts located at 2001 Rosewood Avenue, Austin, Texas 78702 and supporting the nomination and inclusion of Rosewood Courts in the National Register of Historic Places.

Monitor’s take: On Tuesday, we covered the fact that Council Member Ora Houston has revived a previous bid to preserve the city’s Rosewood Courts housing project. That story pretty much has all the details you need about this case. However, following the publication of that article, the city’s housing authority confirmed that it would be continuing its push for a more limited preservation plan, so it’s fair to expect a bit of a tussle.

49. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to review the City’s non-discrimination employment policies and practices, to make recommendations to the Council by May 1, 2016, about ways to strengthen employee protections in these policies and practices, and to request that the Director of Human Resources initiate amendments to the Municipal Civil Service rules to strengthen employee protections against discrimination in the workplace.

Monitor’s take: This resolution comes out of the Human Rights Commission’s recommendations concerning disparate treatment of female city employees. Notably, it asks the city manager to conduct a comprehensive review of the city’s current anti-discrimination policies and asks that the human resources director develop a process for “appeals pertaining to allegations of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.”

54. Approve an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 14-1 relating to the naming or renaming of park facilities.

Monitor’s take: Looks like Council is ready to take action on this thing, which is intended to make the naming of things less onerous for the city. We’ll see.

55. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to prepare a report of possible reductions to Austin Water’s General Fund transfer.

Monitor’s take: And then there’s this. We wrote about Council Member Ellen Troxclair’s push to cut utility transfers when it was at committee, and there’s no way it won’t be something to watch at the Council level.

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Key Players & Topics In This Article

Austin City Council: The Austin City Council is the body with legislative purview over the City of Austin. It offers policy direction, while the office of the City Manager implements administrative actions based on those policies. Until 2015, the body contained seven members, including the city's Mayor, all elected at-large. In 2012, City of Austin residents voted to change that system and as of 2015, 10 members of the Council are elected based on geographic districts. The Mayor continues to be elected at-large.

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