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TipSheet: Austin City Council Special Called Meeting 2-5

Monday, February 2, 2015 by Michael Kanin

The Austin City Council will tackle just four items in its Special Called Meeting Thursday. Given the brevity of the agenda, we’ve elected to post (and comment) about all of it below. Links to meeting backup materials can be found here.

1. Council discussion addressing land use issues, the Comprehensive Plan (Imagine Austin) and housing matters within the City of Austin.

Monitor’s Take: This is the land use briefing that Council members elected to skip at this past Thursday’s meeting. The briefing should cover a few basics. City PDR director Greg Guernsey told Council members last week that it is roughly 20-25 minutes long, though Guernsey implied that CMs should take as much time as they’d like with the discussion.

2. Approve appointments and certain related waivers to citizen boards and commissions, to Council subcommittees and other intergovernmental bodies and removal and replacement of members.

Monitor’s Take: This is another leftover from Thursday. CMs decided to wait on signing off on the appointments of Mark Gilbert to the Urban Transportation Commission and Nuria Zaragoza to the Land Development Code Advisory Group. That the item has returned seems to indicate that they are in a more approving mood.

3. Approve a resolution relating to the Fire Department’s hiring process, diversity in the Department, collective bargaining process, and budget.

Monitor’s Take: This is a fairly specifically worded item that, if approved, would underscore this Council’s focus on ensuring diversity in a department that’s had issues in that arena. In so doing, they wade into a subject that is fraught with legal issues and internal politicking. Item lead sponsor CM Greg Casar (D4) lays out his rationale here.

4. Discuss personnel matters related to the appointment of council members to council committees, intergovernmental bodies and other entities (Personnel Exception – 551.074 of the Government Code).

Monitor’s Take: Slated for a closed-door executive session, this’ll be the opportunity for CMs and the Mayor to hash out who gets to sit on what new Council Committee. As of Sunday afternoon, Council Members Renteria (D3) and Zimmerman (D6) were the only CMs to weigh-in on the Council message board about their preferences. Renteria’s asked for Council Committees on Housing and Community Development, Health and Human Services, Public Safety, Economic Opportunity/Tech, and Audit and Finance (as with his colleagues, he’ll likely be assigned to four committees). He’s also asked to be a Council rep on CapMetro, CAPCOG (where aid Ashley Fisher has spent some time), and the Lone Star Rail District.

CM Zimmerman requested Council committees on Mobility, Audit & Finance, Public Utilities, Open Space, Environment, and Sustainability, and Housing and Community Development. He’s also asked to be Council’s rep on CAMPO’s transportation policy board, the BCCP’s coordinating committee, the Texas Colorado River Floodplain Coalition, and the Clean Air Force of Central Texas.

Stay tuned.

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